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Links 31/10/2015: Twitch’s Arch Linux Challenge, GNOME 3.19.1

Posted in News Roundup at 8:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Using open source in the enterprise – 11 CIOs embracing free and open source software

    Open source enterprise use cases appear to be on the rise, at least anecdotally, with an increasing number of CIOs, IT directors and Chief Technology Officers telling CIO UK about investigating and adopting free and open source alternatives to proprietary software as they seek to gain freedom and flexibility, cut costs, increase agility, improve code quality and avoid vendor lock-in.

    UK businesses it seems have also finally conquered their “irrational fears” of open source and security fears are also on the wane, reports have suggested.

    The most recent studies by the non-profit Linux Foundation in its Enterprise End User Trends reports have revealed year on year increases in Linux deployments over the last four years, with the open operating system seeing particular growth as a platform for cloud computing.

  • Neo4j Launches Open Source Graph Query Language openCypher

    Neo4j graph NoSQL database team launches open source graph query language called openCypher. Neo Technology, the company behind the graph database, announced last week at GraphConnect Conference, the launch of the open source project that will be available to technology providers as a common language for querying graph data.

  • Tor Project launches encrypted anonymous chat app to the public

    The Tor Project has launched the beta version of Tor Messenger, an easy-to-use encrypted message client for those concerned about their privacy and potential surveillance.

  • Keeping Open Source Code Safe: 5 Tips for the Enterprise

    Many organizations use static analysis security testing (SAST) and dynamic analysis security testing (DAST) for monitoring, but while these tools are excellent for finding bugs in code written by internal developers, they are not effective in detecting known open source vulnerabilities in application code. In fact, open source vulnerabilities are far too complex to be found by these automated tools.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why Contributing to OpenStack Makes Sense for Vendors

      At the OpenStack Summit here, there have been a number of common themes and questions that keep surfacing. Time and again panels are discussing why contributions matter and how Amazon is or isn’t the competition.

      One such panel session was titled “The OpenStack Orchestra: The Next Wave of OpenStack Specialist Startups,” and included executives from Mirantis, Tesora, SwiftStack and PLUMgrid.

    • OpenStack Tokyo: The Ascendance of Cloud Networking

      Networking has always been a part of the open source OpenStack cloud platform, but it has never been more popular, or as exciting as it is now. At the OpenStack Summit in Tokyo, one of the hottest topics is networking, as organizations of all sizes turn to the cloud for Software Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization capabilities.

    • Why HP Helion public cloud went down for the count
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.1 to launch bug hunting session

      LibreOffice 5.1 Alpha has launched, ready for the weekend. Enthusiasts and community members will be able to grab the software and partake in the first Bug Hunting Session from Friday October 30th to Sunday November 1st. The final build of LibreOffice 5.1 is expected to launch in February next year.

  • BSD

    • Deweloperzy OpenBSD: Henning Brauer

      I’m Henning, not 20 any more, OpenBSD developer since 2002. I architected & wrote large parts of pf, started, architected and wrote large parts of bgpd and ntpd. The imsg & privsep framework I wrote for bgpd is in almost all newer OpenBSD daemons. I also worked a lot in the network stack, including many redesigns. One of the last bigger projects I did was the replacement of the queueing subsystem.


    • GNU Hurd 0.7 & GNU Mach 1.6 Released

      Stepping ahead of the Linux 4.3 release is a Halloween release of GNU Hurd 0.7, GNU Mach 1.6, and GNU MIG 1.6.

      GNU Hurd 0.7 improves the node cache for the EXT2 file-system code (ext2fs), improves the native fakeroot tool, provides a new rpcscan utility, fixes a long-standing synchronization issue with the file-system translators and other components, and the Hurd code has been ported to work with newer GCC versions and libc.

    • Library of Congress issues limited exemptions to DMCA anti-circumvention provisions but leaves users without full control over their own computing

      The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) contains provisions penalizing the circumvention of “technological protection measures”. These measures are digital jails denying users access to the software and other digital works they possess, preventing them from examining or changing the software on their devices. While such measures are nominally meant to protect copyrighted works, in reality they function as unacceptable restrictions on computer user freedom. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) opposes such Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) systems. The FSF further opposes the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, and demands that Congress repeal those provisions. Other countries with similar laws should follow suit.

      Every three years, the Library of Congress reviews proposals granting limited exemptions from the DMCA’s broad ban on users controlling the software and data on devices encumbered with DRM. This flawed process is meant to lessen the DMCA’s harm by giving user rights advocates an opportunity to request exemptions allowing circumvention in particular cases. Even when such petitions succeed, the resulting exemptions last only three years, meaning that advocates must repeatedly fight to retain the limited ground they won.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • PHP 7.0 RC6 Released Ahead Of PHP 7.0 Final On 12 November

      PHP 7.0 RC6 was released today for what may be the final release candidate ahead of PHP 7.0.0′s official premiere in two weeks.

    • Ceylon 1.2 Brings New Language Features

      Ceylon, the programming language based on Java and developed at Red Hat, is out with a new version of this programming language that can be lowered down into JavaScript.

    • PyPy 4.0.0 Released – A Jit with SIMD Vectorization and More

      We’re pleased and proud to unleash PyPy 4.0.0, a major update of the PyPy python 2.7.10 compatible interpreter with a Just In Time compiler. We have improved warmup time and memory overhead used for tracing, added vectorization for numpy and general loops where possible on x86 hardware (disabled by default), refactored rough edges in rpython, and increased functionality of numpy.

    • PyPy 4.0 Released For Speedy Python

      PyPy 4.0.0 was released today as a major update for this Python 2.7 interpreter and JIT compiler.



Links 30/10/2015: System76 Sells Oryx Pro, Plasma 5.5 Looks for Wallpapers

Posted in News Roundup at 11:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The new era of community

    The new Director of Community at GitHub, Jono Bacon, delivered a keynote at All Things Open this year titled: The new era of community. His talk was largely a call action to do better job of leading, guiding, and engaging in open source communities. Here’s how.

  • The Race to Develop an Open-Source Voting System Is On

    The City and County of San Francisco joined Los Angeles County and Travis County, Texas, in their pursuit of open source voting systems, where the public can review the software code for evidence of ballot tampering.

    The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) adopted a report titled “Study on Open Source Voting Systems” on Friday, recommending how the county can build its own in San Francisco.

  • Look at that nice looking FreedomBox!

    I’m rebuilding one my home server and decided to take a look at the FreedomBox project as the base for it.

    The 0.6 version was recently released and I wasn’t aware of how advanced the project is already!

    They have a virtualbox image ready for some quick test. It took me longer to download it than to start using it.

  • Tor Messenger chat client beta available

    Messaging is generally thought to be safer than PGP encrypted email because there aren’t emails sitting around for interested parties to decrypt at their leisure. Once a messaging session is over, the messages, if not logged, disappear.

  • Greenplum goes open source — and a new cloud analytics star is born

    Greenplum Database, Pivotal’s data warehouse solution, has come full circle. Once derived from the open source PostgreSQL, Greenplum is open source once again.

    Greenplum could be used to yank the rug out from under the stagnant legacy players in data warehousing and analytic RDBMSes, but Oracle, Impala, and Teradata alone aren’t the competition. Rather, cloud leaders are also at risk.

  • What good is open source nobody knows about?

    Here’s a pet peeve of mine, because I see it time and time again: Folks work on software or projects, put in a ton of effort, and then do nothing to promote the project or release. (And, for bonus points, complain that they don’t understand why the project isn’t getting more attention!)


    This isn’t necessarily intuitive for folks, I understand. But it is absolutely, vitally, necessary. Maybe, occasionally, a project is just so darn awesome that somebody happens to stumble on it via GitHub or whatever and word of mouth makes it a success – but typically, things get out into the world via consistent updates and communications to the right channels to get the word out.

  • Tor Just Launched the Easiest App Yet for Anonymous, Encrypted IM

    The anonymity network Tor has long been the paranoid standard for privacy online, and the Tor Browser that runs on it remains the best way to use the web while revealing the least identifying data. Now the non-profit Tor Project has officially released another piece of software that could bring that same level of privacy to instant messaging: a seamless and simple app that both encrypts the content of IMs and also makes it very difficult for an eavesdropper to identify the person sending them.

    On Thursday the Tor Project launched its first beta version of Tor Messenger, its long-in-the-works, open source instant messenger client. The app, perhaps more than any other desktop instant messaging program, is designed for both simplicity and privacy by default: It integrates the “Off-the-Record” (OTR) protocol to encrypt messages and routes them over Tor just as seamlessly as the Tor Browser does for web data. It’s also compatible with the same XMPP or “Jabber” chat protocol used by millions of Facebook and Google accounts, as well as desktop clients like Adium for Mac and Pidgin for Windows. The result is that anyone can download the software and in seconds start sending messages to their pre-existing contacts that are not only strongly encrypted, but tunneled through Tor’s maze of volunteer computers around the world to hide the sender’s IP address.

  • Tor Messenger Beta: Chat over Tor, Easily

    Tor Messenger is a cross-platform chat program that aims to be secure by default and sends all of its traffic over Tor. It supports a wide variety of transport networks, including Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter, Yahoo, and others; enables Off-the-Record (OTR) Messaging automatically; and has an easy-to-use graphical user interface localized into multiple languages.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Summit Tokyo 2015

      Yesterday I conducted my presentation about “99.999% available OpenStack Cloud – A builder’s guide”. The room was full. If you could not join, you can find the slide deck on slideshare and the video is also already available online.

    • How to keep a technical conference relevant for decades

      LISA is an annual technical conference for IT operations professionals, organized by The USENIX Association. The first LISA was held back in 1986, and the event still has a reputation for delivering top-notch technical content and an exceptional hallway track. This year, Amy Rich (Mozilla Corporation) and Cory Lueninghoener (Los Alamos National Laboratory) co-chaired the conference.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Sharing Work Is Easier With An Open Document Format

      The Open Document Format (ODF) is one such format. ODF was specified by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), an industry consortium which aims to produce standards for e-business.

      Key players in OASIS include the tech giants Sun Microsystems (now part of the Oracle) and IBM. Sun has been one of the main drivers of the format as it grew out of the format used by its free OpenOffice application. In 2006 the Open Document Format was approved jointly by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as an international standard for office software.

      Sun promised not to enforce any of its patents against implementations using the OpenDocument standard, although there can be much uncertainty associated with patents.

    • LibreOffice 5.1 to Start Twice as Fast, Has MS Office 2016 Interoperability

      The first major point release for LibreOffice, the 5.1 branch, is being worked on this weekend during the 1st Bug Hunting Session. This promises to be an important upgrade that should really make a difference.

    • LibreOffice Hackfest at Hamburg

      Thanks to CIB, who sponsored the event with their office location, drinks and food, we again had a LibreOffice Hackfest at Hamburg on Saturday/Sunday October 24/25, and a get-together on Friday evening with the opportunity to meat also some long time colleagues from Sun and Star.

  • Education

    • Lawrence school district joins open source initiative

      The Lawrence school district is taking part in a new U.S. Department of Education campaign, #GoOpen, to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials.

      The Lawrence school district is one of 10 districts nationwide that have taken up the #GoOpen challenge to replace at least one textbook with openly licensed educational resources within the next year.

  • Electronic Payments

  • BSD

    • Deweloperzy OpenBSD: joshua stein

      I started using OpenBSD in 1998 (version 2.3 or 2.4) to host a BBS that I was running. I switched from Slackware Linux to OpenBSD because of its focus on security and eventually stuck with it because of its simple design and ease of administration. The ports system was a big draw for me as well.

    • Deweloperzy OpenBSD: Stefan Sperling

      I’m currently self-employed, with a focus on open source development and consulting for companies interacting with open source projects.

      Besides OpenBSD, I have been contributing to Apache Subversion since 2007. One of my main jobs is to provide support, workshops, and consulting for Subversion, plus fixing bugs and working on new features. I am somewhat involved in the Apache Software Foundation as a whole, but at this point in time my contributions there are more symbolic in nature, mostly because of lack of time and focus.


    • A road trip into the Free Software Foundation’s early days

      On my 21st birthday in 1998, I received a phone call from Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation (FSF), to tell me the root password of the GNU Project’s web server.

      I’d learned about something called UNIX a great many years prior, and in 1993, on a two-week language course in Swansea, Wales, I managed to up my storage quota on the university’s Pyramid system from 2MB to 4MB, enough to download Slackware from the University of Vaasa’s FTP server and bring it back home with me.

  • Licensing

    • Christoph Hellwig Continues VMware GPL Enforcement Suit in Germany

      The lawsuit continues to progress. VMware has filed a statement of defense, in which they assert arguments for the dismissal of the action. Christoph, with the assistance of his lawyer Till Jaeger, has filed his response to these arguments. Unfortunately, VMware has explicitly asked for the filings not to be published and, accordingly, Conservancy has not been able to review either document. With the guidance of counsel, Christoph was able to provide Conservancy with a high-level summary of the filings from which we are able to provide this update. VMware’s statement of defense primarily focuses on two issues. First, VMware questions Christoph’s copyright interest in the Linux kernel and his right to bring this action. Second, VMware claims vmklinux is an “interoperability module” which communicates through a stable interface called VMK API.

    • VMware vs German kernel dev: Filings flung in Linux-lifting lawsuit

      Software Freedom Conservancy has spat out a “high level” update on the GPL enforcement case it is backing against VMware, ahead of an expected first hearing next year.

      SFC said that VMware had filed its defence against the suit brought by German kernel developer Christoph Hellwig back in March, which alleges VMware’s proprietary ESXi hypervisor products use portions of the code that Hellwig wrote for the Linux kernel, in violation of the terms of version 2 of the GPL.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Romania prepares its second Action Plan

      “Creating an open governance process requires a larger commitment and a more engaged dialogue between the government, civil society, citizens and the private sector. Having an efficient administration can drive a better communication between public institutions, civil servants, and other stakeholders,” according to an evaluation report published by the Romanian government, which will form the basis of its second OGP Action Plan (2014-2016).

    • Can Greenpeace become an open organization?

      I’m fascinated by what the open community takes for granted. Outside FOSS, free and open source software, the idea that work needs to have a solid foundation before being released is deeply seeded. But, in open source communities we say, “Release early, release often,” a phrase I regularly substitute now for: “Throw it into the world as soon as you can formulate words around it.” Heck, even if you aren’t coherent, someone might still understand you. Go ahead and share!

    • Open Hardware

      • Novena: A Laptop With No Secrets

        Our next choice had social repercussions. When you adopt a CPU/operating-system combination, you also adopt its developers. We decided against Google Android because it’s optimized for phones and tablets, its graphical display typically shows only one application at a time, and its touch-screen paradigm is too imprecise for computer-aided design work. Therefore, in order to create a system that our target market of developers and creators could use, we decided to run on our ARM chip a version of Linux called GNU/Linux. GNU, which authored both the OS libraries and the license that the Linux kernel uses, is a coder’s organization, right down to the self-referential acronym itself (it stands for “Gnu’s Not Unix”).

      • Open Source Laptop

        Andrew “bunnie” Huang & Sean Cross tell, in great detail, how they created the Novena laptop, using solely open source software and hardware. For anyone familiar with or even interested in how computers really work, it’s quite a gripping tale. I believe their work could have lasting beneficial effects on the hobbyist computing and open source communities.

      • Open-Source Robotic Arm Exceeds 1200% of Initial Crowdfunding Goal

        The open-source robotic arm called Dobot that can be used by everyday consumers and experience makers alike has now raised over $430,000 on crowdfunding website, Kickstarter, with funds still rising.

  • Programming

    • Top 3 open source Python IDEs

      Python is everywhere. These days, it seems it powers everything from major websites to desktop utilities to enterprise software. Python has been used to write all, or parts of, popular software projects like dnf/yum, OpenStack, OpenShot, Blender, Calibre, and even the original BitTorrent client.

    • Azul’s Open Source JVM Supports Java 9 a Year Before Release

      While DZone was at JavaOne 2015 this week, Azul Systems released an early access version of Zulu, which is a certified OpenJDK build / JVM, that supports the latest JDK 9 features.


  • Hardware

    • Oracle ships first Sparc M7 systems with security in silicon

      ORACLE HAS STARTED SHIPPING systems based on its latest Sparc M7 processor, which the firm said will go a long way to solving the world’s online security problems by building protection into the silicon.

      The Sparc M7 chip was originally unveiled at last year’s Openworld show in San Francisco, and was touted at the time as a Heartbleed-prevention tool.

      A year on, and Oracle announced the Oracle SuperCluster M7, along with Sparc T7 and M7 servers, at the show. The servers are all based on the 32-core, 256-thread M7 microprocessor, which offers Security in Silicon for better intrusion protection and encryption, and SQL in Silicon for improved database efficiency.

  • Security

    • Intel x86 considered harmful (new paper)

      Back in summer I have read a new book published by one of the core Intel architects about the Management Engine (ME). I didn’t quite like what I read there. In fact I even found this a bit depressing, even though Intel ME wasn’t particular news to me as we, at the ITL, have already studied this topic quite in-depth, so to say, back in 2008… But, as you can see in the linked article, I believed we could use VT-d to protect the host OS from the potentially malicious ME-based rootkits (which we demonstrated back then).

    • MySQL Windows servers come under malware attack

      Researchers at Symantec say they have discovered a form of malware that attacks MySQL on Windows servers, using them to launch distributed denial of service attacks.

    • Sustaining Digital Certificate Security

      Following our notification, Symantec published a report in response to our inquiries and disclosed that 23 test certificates had been issued without the domain owner’s knowledge covering five organizations, including Google and Opera.

      However, we were still able to find several more questionable certificates using only the Certificate Transparency logs and a few minutes of work. We shared these results with other root store operators on October 6th, to allow them to independently assess and verify our research.

      Symantec performed another audit and, on October 12th, announced that they had found an additional 164 certificates over 76 domains and 2,458 certificates issued for domains that were never registered.

    • British Gas leak sees 2,400 customer passwords posted online

      COOKING AND HEATING ENABLER British Gas has confessed to a data loss that has seen the details of many of its customers released online.

      British Gas has written to affected customers to tell them that, while it may not have been hacked, the effect is the same. It has somehow managed to leak information that has found its way onto the internet and in the direction of ne-er-do-wells.

      Reports have it that 2,399 email addresses and passwords have been leaked online. A package of emails and passwords is a pretty good haul for an online exploiter, particularly if the same details are used for access on other sites and services.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Britain’s Poppy Fascism

      Some brave television figures refuse to go along with the established “norm”. It was Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow who coined the phrase “poppy fascism” a few years ago when he was publicly berated by BBC journalists and other media outlets for refusing to don the flower during his nightly broadcasts. It remains to be seen if the Channel 4 news anchor will this year cave to public pressure – a pressure which seems to be growing every year.

    • Over 16,000 Alleged Terrorists Believed Dead, Yet Many Remain Watchlisted

      EVEN DEATH WON’T GET YOU OFF the U.S. terrorism watchlist. As of last July, over 3,500 suspected terrorists included in the U.S. government’s central terror database were “confirmed dead” and another 13,000 were “reportedly dead,” yet many of their names continued to be actively monitored in databases like the no-fly list, according to an intelligence assessment prepared by the Department of Homeland Security in August of this year.

    • Israel only country at UN to join US in supporting Cuba embargo

      The UN General Assembly on Tuesday called for an end to the decades-long US embargo on Cuba in a resolution adopted by a near-unanimous vote, three months after US-Cuba diplomatic ties were restored.

      The United States and Israel voted against the non-binding resolution, but a resounding 191 countries supported the measure in the 193-member assembly, the highest number ever.

    • We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel.

      But we must face reality: The occupation has become permanent. Nearly half a century after the Six-Day War, Israel is settling into the apartheid-like regime against which many of its former leaders warned. The settler population in the West Bank has grown 30-fold, from about 12,000 in 1980 to 389,000 today. The West Bank is increasingly treated as part of Israel, with the green line demarcating the occupied territories erased from many maps. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin declared recently that control over the West Bank is “not a matter of political debate. It is a basic fact of modern Zionism.”

    • Sentenced to Be Crucified

      Any day now, our Saudi Arabian allies may behead and crucify a young man named Ali al-Nimr.

    • Exclusive: Saudi Arabia Admits Bombing MSF Hospital in Yemen — But Faults MSF

      Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN has admitted a “mistake” was made when Riyadh-led coalition jets bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen, but says the medical charity provided incorrect geographic coordinates for the facility, leading to the incident.

      MSF, as the organization is known by its French acronym, reported on Tuesday that a hospital they supported in Haydan district in the northern Saada province was hit by several airstrikes starting at around 10:30PM local time on Monday. Initial blasts occurred outside the building, and all staff and patients were able to flee before it was destroyed by subsequent airstrikes. One MSF employee suffered minor injuries.

      In a statement, MSF said that the hospital’s GPS coordinates “were shared with Coalition forces. They are sent every week to the Coalition operations room, and the last time they were shared was on October 24.” The organization also said that it’s logo had been painted on the facility’s roof and was visible from the air.

    • Yemen: MSF Hospital Destroyed by Airstrikes

      Airstrikes carried out late last night by the Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen destroyed a hospital supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), MSF announced today.

      The small hospital, in the Haydan District in Saada Province, was hit by several airstrikes beginning at 10:30 p.m. last night. Hospital staff and two patients managed to escape before subsequent airstrikes occurred over a two-hour period. One staff member was slightly injured while escaping. With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care.

    • Saudi prince arrested on private plane with 2 tons of drugs – reports

      Lebanese security forces are interrogating a Saudi prince on charges of carrying drugs on his private plane after they allegedly retrieved 2 tons of narcotics from the aircraft, local media reported.

      Abd al-Muhsen bin Walid bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud was detained on Monday in Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport.

      The prince was about to conduct a flight on his private plane to Saudi Arabia.

    • Saudi Arabia executes people over drugs while its princes are caught with tons of drugs at the airport

      Saudi prince Abdel Mohsen bin Walid bin Abdulaziz was caught in an airport in Lebanon on Monday with over two tons of drugs.

      Lebanese security found 40 suitcases full of more than 4,000 pounds of amphetamine pills and cocaine on the prince’s private plane, which was on its way to Saudi capital city Riyadh. A security source told AFP that this was the largest smuggling operation ever foiled by Beirut International Airport security.

      While this may seem like just another case of rich and powerful aristocrats going wild, the implications of this drug bust are much more insidious: In Saudi Arabia, people are executed over drugs. And not rarely — several times a month, on average.

    • The Pentagon’s Missionary Spies: U.S. Military Used Christian NGO as Front for North Korea Espionage

      Hiramine’s NGO, Humanitarian International Services Group, or HISG, won special praise from the president for having demonstrated how a private charity could step in quickly in response to a crisis. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” read Hiramine’s citation, “HISG’s team launched a private sector operation center in Houston that mobilized over 1,500 volunteers into the disaster zone within one month after the hurricane.”

      But as the evangelical Christian Hiramine crossed the stage to shake hands with President Bush and receive his award, he was hiding a key fact from those in attendance: He was a Pentagon spy whose NGO was funded through a highly classified Defense Department program.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Obama Bypassed OLC on Bin Laden Killing

      This means that on the OBL raid, Donilon excluded the Attorney General in the same way Dick Cheney excluded John Ashcroft from key information about torture and wiretapping. I find that interesting enough, given hints that Holder raised concerns about the legal authority to kill Anwar al-Awlaki in the weeks after we missed him on December 24, 2009, which led to OLC writing two crappy memos authorizing that killing in ways that have never been all that convincing.

      But Savage provides no explanation for why Krass was excluded, which is particularly interesting given that the month after OBL’s killing, Savage revealed that President Obama had blown off Krass’ advice on Libya (as I read it, the decision to blow off her advice would have happened after the OBL killing, though I am not certain on that point). The silence about Krass is also remarkable given that she was looped in on the initial Libya decision — and asked to write a really bizarre memo memorializing advice purportedly given after the fact.

    • WikiLeaks emails from head of CIA reveal he ‘consulted a mental health expert’, suggested US spying on own citizens may be illegal and that his own security firm had been ‘disingenuous’ to win contract

      Highly sensitive personal details about the head of the CIA from his hacked emails have been leaked, including his phone number, home address, passport number and how he once consulted a mental health expert.

      The emails, obtained by WikiLeaks, show that John Brennan had concerns about the US spying on its own citizens and called for ‘firm criteria’, warning that the activities ‘must be consistent with our laws and reflect the democratic principles and values of our Nation’.

      The files also show how a security firm he established was accused of ‘disingenuous’ behavior by the CIA in its bid to win a government contract for a terrorist watch list.

      In a further memo released by the anti-secrecy agency, Brennan takes a swipe at former President George W. Bush for his ‘gratuitous’ labeling of Iran as part of a worldwide ‘axis of evil’.

    • European Parliament Urges Protection for Edward Snowden

      On Twitter, Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked millions of documents about electronic surveillance by the United States government, called the vote a “game-changer.” But the resolution has no legal force and limited practical effect for Mr. Snowden, who is living in Russia on a three-year residency permit.

    • EU Parliament Calls On EU Countries To Drop All Charges Against Snowden, Protect Him From Extradition

      The EU Parliament has just approved a measure (by a narrow 285 to 281 vote) telling EU member states to “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender.” That’s pretty huge. Of course, as a resolution, it’s more symbolic than actually meaningful, because the member states may not follow through on the request. But it is an important step in the right direction.

      At the same time, the EU Parliament reviewed some other issues concerning mass surveillance, including the whole EU-US safe harbor setup. As we noted, the EU Court of Justice recently tossed out that agreement, which is really creating a huge mess for the internet right now. The EU Parliament “welcomed” the ruling, and pushed for alternatives to the safe harbor agreement. As we noted, the safe harbor agreement was a bit of a mess, but it’s important to have something in place to allow the internet to function — and the real problem was the NSA surveillance program.

    • European Parliament Says Snowden Should Be Welcomed in Europe

      The European Parliament voted on Thursday to call on its member states to welcome “human rights defender” Edward Snowden to Europe with open arms.

      The member states should “drop any criminal charges against Edwards Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as a whistle-blower and international human rights defender,” read the resolution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Lions Declining in Africa

      A predictive population model suggests that lion populations in West, Central, and East Africa are likely to be halved in the next 20 years.

    • 22 more elephants killed by cyanide in Zimbabwe

      National park officials say 22 more elephants have been killed by cyanide in Zimbabwe, adding to a worrying poaching trend.

      A source with knowledge of an investigation of the killings says 78 elephants have been poisoned in the country this month.

      The elephants were found in the remote Sinamatella area of Hwange National Park on Monday, Zimbabwe national park officials say. The park received international attention in July as the site where American dentist Walter Palmer shot and killed Cecil the lion.

    • Joseph Stiglitz: Under TPP, Polluters Could Sue U.S. for Setting Carbon Emissions Limits

      Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz warns about the dangers of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “We know we’re going to need regulations to restrict the emissions of carbon,” Stiglitz said. “But under these provisions, corporations can sue the government, including the American government, by the way, so it’s all the governments in the TPP can be sued for the loss of profits as a result of the regulations that restrict their ability to emit carbon emissions that lead to global warming.”

    • The African lion: what faster decline of apex predator means for ecosystems

      There is nothing as awe-inspiring as watching the brutal power of a lion capturing its prey. At close range, their throaty roars thump through your body, raising a cold sweat triggered by the fear of what these animals are capable of doing now, and what they once did to our ancestors. They are the most majestic animals left on our planet, and yet we are currently faced with the very real possibility that they will be functionally extinct within our lifetime.

      In fact, lion populations throughout much of Africa are heading towards extinction more rapidly than previously thought, according to new research by Oxford biologist Hans Bauer and colleagues, published in PNAS. The team looked at 47 sites with credible and repeated lion surveys since 1990, and found they were declining everywhere in Africa aside from four countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

    • Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?

      I’ve often wondered how the media would respond when eco-apocalypse struck. I pictured the news programmes producing brief, sensational reports, while failing to explain why it was happening or how it might be stopped. Then they would ask their financial correspondents how the disaster affected share prices, before turning to the sport. As you can probably tell, I don’t have an ocean of faith in the industry for which I work. What I did not expect was that they would ignore it.


      At the climate summit in Paris in December the media, trapped within the intergovernmental bubble of abstract diplomacy and manufactured drama, will cover the negotiations almost without reference to what is happening elsewhere. The talks will be removed to a realm with which we have no moral contact. And, when the circus moves on, the silence will resume. Is there any other industry that serves its customers so badly?

    • NASA warns of worst ever forest fires, environmental disaster, as smoke blankets six countries

      IT’S the biggest environmental disaster in our region and Australia cannot avoid being affected by its enormous reach.

      A sickening haze that has spread across southeast Asia is being described as a “crime against humanity” and has NASA warning of a disaster of its kind never before seen.

      For more than two months, raging forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have released vast plumes of smoke that has spread across neighbouring countries including Malaysia, Singapore, southern Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • AdBlock Plus accuses Axel Springer of censorship after ad-block move

      Axel Springer’s war with ad-blocking firm Eyeo’s Adblock Plus continues to rage.

      According to AdBlock Plus, the German publisher has tried to quash conversations about how to get around the wall that Axel Springer erected to keep ad block users from accessing its tabloid site Bild. Adblock Plus is claiming Axel Springer’s approach smacks of censorship.

    • Anti-Israel Activism Criminalized in the Land of Charlie Hebdo and “Free Speech“

      Worst of all, the march took place in a country that is one of the most hostile to free speech rights in the West, as France quickly demonstrated in the days after the march by rounding up and prosecuting Muslims and other anti-Israel activists for the political views they expressed. A great, best-selling book by French philosopher Emmanuel Todd released this year argues that these “free speech” marches were a “sham,” driven by many political sentiments — nativism, nationalism, anti-Muslim bigotry — that had nothing to do with free speech.

    • ORG response to David Cameron’s call for web filter law

      ORG has responded to the Prime Minister’s calls for legislation that will implement filters for adult content. This follows the European’s Parliament vote for net neutrality regulations, which will ban the current voluntary agreement made between ISPs and the government to provide filters, which some providers switch on by default.

    • UK Prime Minister Apparently Last To Realize New EU Net Neutrality Rules Mean No Porn Filtering

      The EU’s new net neutrality “protections” are largely deserving of the scare quotes, what with their myriad loopholes and built-in provisions that allow ISPs to throttle/manipulate traffic to prevent “congestion” — something that has yet to be the actual source of any ISP’s “traffic $haping” efforts.

      But what the rules did do is throw off David Cameron’s ongoing plans for a porn-free UK. And, of course — considering Cameron has no idea how ISP-level filters work, much less aware of numerous logical fallacies “supporting” his claims this will actually prevent porn consumption by minors — the Prime Minister was the last to know.

    • ‘Soft’ Censorship Threatens Serbian Press Freedom

      The Serbian government’s use of “soft” censorship remains a threat to press freedom, a report issued on Thursday by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, WAN-IFRA, and the Center for International Media Assistance, CIMA, in Washington says.

      The report, “Media reform stalled in the slow lane: Soft censorship in Serbia”, was published with the support of the Open Society Foundation while BIRN Serbia was a research partner.

      The report noted that Serbia lacks a functional, vital and competitive media market.

      “Taxpayers’ funds are now one of the most important sources for survival of media outlets. However, public monies are deployed with partisan intent,” the report said.

    • Censorship at Ubud writers’ festival proves a creeping menace

      The censorship of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival has spread from sessions discussing the 1965 anti-communist massacres to other politically sensitive topics on the resort island.

      A panel has now been scratched on the controversial reclamation of land in Benoa Bay in southern Bali for a massive luxury development that critics say will devastate the environment.

    • Ubud festival kicks off amid censorship pressure

      Last week, the UWRF organizer, however, was forced to drop all sessions that were to look at the massacre of communists in Indonesia in the 1960s following pressure from local authorities.

    • Bali Nine lawyer joins Indonesians warning against return to Suharto censorship

      Panel sessions and a film on the 1965 anti-communist massacres in Indonesia were prohibited at an international literary festival in Bali due to a 1966 government regulation banning communism and Marxism-Leninism, according to a Balinese police chief.

      Gianyar police chief Farman told Fairfax Media there was also a 1999 criminal code which made the spreading of communism, Marxism and Leninism in public a punishable offence with a maximum sentence of 12 years’ jail.

    • Ubud Writers Fest Censorship Pressure: Indonesians can’t freely talk about 1965 killings

      The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) has cancelled events discussing the 1965 Indonesian massacres, after police threatened to revoke the festival permit.

      I research and write about the massacres’ impact on Indonesia. I was to moderate one of the five events that were dropped from this week’s festival.

    • Censorship is returning to Indonesia in the name of the 1965 purges

      A week ago I received a message from Janet DeNeefe, director of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.

      “I just wanted to let you know that the UWRF is being censored this year, and we have been told to remove all programs to do with ‘1965’,” she wrote. “Or else next year they will not give us a permit to hold the festival.”

    • Report: Global internet surveillance, censorship on rise

      Governments around the world are expanding censorship and surveillance of the internet as overall online freedom declined for the fifth consecutive year, according to a report from a group that tracks democracy and human rights.

      Nearly half of 65 countries examined have seen online freedom weaken since June 2014, Freedom House said in an annual survey released on Wednesday.

      One of the steepest declines occurred in France, which passed a law that many observers likened to the US Patriot Act in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks earlier this year, according to the report.

      Ukraine, mired in a territorial conflict with Russia, and Libya also experienced sharp drops.

      The report highlighted China as the country with the most severe restrictions on internet freedom, followed by Syria and Iran.

      Sri Lanka and Zambia, both of which recently underwent changes in government leadership, were credited with making the biggest improvements in overall online freedom.

    • Internet freedom falls for fifth year in row: survey

      The annual report by non-government watchdog Freedom House said the setbacks were especially noticeable in the Middle East, reversing gains seen in the Arab Spring.

      Freedom House found declines in online freedom of expression in 32 of the 65 countries assessed since June 2014, with “notable declines” in Libya, France and Ukraine.

      The researchers found 61 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where criticism of the government, military or ruling family has been subject to censorship.

      And 58 percent live in countries where bloggers or others were jailed for sharing content online on political, social and religious issues, according to the “Freedom on the Net 2015″ report.

    • Porn filters: Cameron vows to protect internet censorship from EU law

      Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to counter a European Union ruling that branded his internet porn filters illegal. He reiterated his stance that children must be protected from adult material online.

      The EU ruling states that information must be allowed to travel through the internet “without discrimination, restriction or interference.” The measures are intended to allow data companies to reduce roaming charges.

      The British government says it will protect internet companies from the EU laws and make it a legal right for the firms to use porn filters.

      Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Cameron said parents should be able to control the materials their children are exposed to.

    • UK.gov plans to legislate on smut filters after EU net neutrality ruling

      Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed today that the Tory government planned to legislate on smut filters, following yesterday’s net neutrality ruling in the European Union.

      Cameron told MPs during PMQs that he had “spluttered over my cornflakes” when he read this morning that the EU measures would fail to think of the children by protecting their prying eyes from “indecent images”.

      “I think it’s absolutely vitally important that we enable parents to have that protection for their children from this material on the internet,” he told the Palace of Westminster.

      “We worked so hard to put in place these filters,” the PM added. “But I can reassure her [Conservative MP for Derby North, Amanda Solloway] because we actually secured an opt-out yesterday so we can keep our family-friendly filters to protect children.”

    • EU Unbans Occult Websites Banned By David Cameron

      This rather shows the bias inherent in the Independent’s editorial style, for these filters applied not just to porn sites, but to websites that dealt with topics and lifestyles that somehow made David Cameron and his government uncomfortable — such as those dealing with the Occult.

    • Porn Under Attack Once Again By Clueless British Government

      Sometimes politicians make me mad enough to scream at my computer. Today is a great example of that as the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has restated his claim that he will block internet-based porn and adult content to “protect children”.

      But this isn’t about protecting children at all, it’s about controlling the internet and stopping British people’s freedom to browse as they wish without having to subject themselves to a registration process in order to watch adult material. The whole idea of blocking porn to protect “children” is a fiction, you can’t protect children from porn – it’s impossible. And anyway “children” don’t watch porn, young adults do. Getting the government to understand the difference between a child and an adolescent is impossible though.

    • Shadow-Censorship on Social Media Sparks New Concerns for Open-Internet Advocates

      The future of information suppression may be much harder to detect—and thus enormously more difficult to counteract. The digital censors of tomorrow will not require intimidation or force; instead, they can exploit the dark art of “shadow-censorship.”

      Shadow-censorship is a way to control information by secretly limiting or obscuring the ways that people can access it. Rather than outright banning or removing problematic communications, shadow-censors can instead wall off social-media posts or users in inaccessible obscurity without the target’s knowledge. To an individual user, it just looks like no one is interested in his or her content. But behind the scenes, sharing algorithms are being covertly manipulated so that it’s extremely difficult for other users to view the blacklisted information.

      In theory, there are a variety of ways that shadow-censorship could be applied on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Users may be automatically unsubscribed from blacklisted feeds without notice. Social media analytics can be selectively edited after the fact to make some posts look more or less popular than they really were. Individual posts or users can be flagged so that they are shown in as few feeds as possible by default. Or provocative content that originally escaped selective filtering may be memory-holed after the fact, retrievable only by the eagle-eyed few who notice and care to draw attention to such curious antics.

    • Putin’s New Censorship Rules Will Weaken Russian Science

      In a surprising development this past week, Russia has notified all scientists at Moscow State University (MSU) that they must submit their research papers to the state security service before they will be permitted to publish them. Nature News reports that Russia is imposing this policy on universities and research institutes throughout the country.

    • Smooth censorship in Russia

      The history of censorship in Russian media runs for pages and pages. There’s little point dealing with Soviet censorship here, but the 1990s, which many people remember as a time when press freedom prevailed, are different. Journalists of the time reminisce about how they used to push bureaucrats’ doors open, the public officials scared of them: bureaucrats and politicians had never been so vulnerable.

      The media, however, was another part of the country’s terrain of political conflict—just as articles could be pulled, so could journalists. Take Dmitry Kholodov, for instance, a journalist for Moskovsky komsomolets who died as he collected a booby-trapped suitcase in 1994. Ministry of Defence officials weren’t pleased with Kholodov’s coverage of army corruption and, having asked their subordinates to ‘shut him up’, their subordinates took the order literally.

    • S. Korean journalists criticize MoU for failing to prevent censorship

      South Korean journalists released a statement on Tuesday urging that the Ministry of Unification (MoU) demand that North Korea not interfere in their reporting during family reunions.

      The journalists from 38 media outlets criticized North Korea for interfering in their reporting during the family reunions that finished Monday at Mount Kumgang, North Korea. North Korea examined the journalists’ computers and USB drives, they said, returning the devices a day later despite the journalists’ complaints.

    • Zimbabwe: Censorship board should be abolished, says workshop group

      Zimbabwe should abolish the censorship board and other bodies censoring or regulating artistic expressions in order to comply with Zimbabwe’s new constitution. Instead a new classification board should be mandated to issue age recommendations to protect children. This was a recommendation made by arts practitioners, artists, journalists and human rights lawyers at a workshop on artistic freedom, held on 23-24 October 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe.


      It says the effects of art censorship or unjustified restrictions of the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity deprive artists of means of expression and livelihood and generate important cultural, social and economic losses to society.

    • Lego refuses to supply bricks for Weiwei installation at National Gallery of Victoria because of ‘political context’

      Part of a major international exhibition planned for Melbourne has been thrown into doubt after toymaker, Lego, refused to supply building blocks for the project.
      External Link: Ai Weiwei instagram

      Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei said Lego refused his studio’s request for a bulk order of Lego to create an artwork to be shown at the National Gallery of Victoria.

    • Chinese activist Ai Weiwei accuses Lego of ‘censorship’

      Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says Lego refused to sell him toy bricks for his artwork, calling it an “an act of censorship and discrimination.”

    • Australia gallery collects Lego for Ai Weiwei

      An Australian gallery has set up a collection point for Lego for a work by artist Ai Weiwei, after the Danish company refused a bulk order from him.

      The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) wants Australians to donate the toy bricks by pouring them through the sunroof of a car parked at the gallery.

    • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei fights Lego Group ‘censorship’

      Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has begun gathering the building blocks for his next artwork, asking fans from all over the world to donate their Lego pieces for use in his next project.

    • Video showing censorship plan by Erdoğan’s chief advisor sparks outrage

      There has been a recent development concerning the removal of critical channels from TV streaming platforms in which newly emerged video footage provides evidence that such movements are politically motivated, as the chief advisor of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is featured urging a minister to drop critical TV channels from the state-owned Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Türksat) — a move that has attracted widespread criticism.

    • US says Turkey not keeping with democratic values after media takeover

      The United States has reiterated its concern over the hostile takeover of five media outlets in Turkey, saying that Turkey is not keeping with its own democratic values.

    • Turkish Police Storm TV Channels Linked to Erdogan Foe Gulen

      Cops sprayed water cannon to disperse crowds in front of the offices of Kanalturk and Bugun TV in Istanbul, a live broadcast on Bugun’s website showed.

      The media groups are owned by Koza Ipek Holding, which has links to Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen. The authorities on Tuesday took over 22 companies owned by Koza Ipek in an investigation of alleged financial irregularities, including whether it funded Gulen. The company denies wrongdoing.

    • International press rights groups slam growing censorship in Turkey
    • Shutting down online comments: Censorship or sanity?

      Vile comments and phenomena such as trolling are simply a small part of the avalanche of electronic detritus that we have to learn to cope with as the internet revolution progresses. Dubious and unethical practices have proliferated and yet, the only sustained attempt to moderate the internet, in China, is notable for its failures as Chinese internet users have quickly learnt how to dodge censors and spread news and opinions in flash comments reaching hundreds of millions.

      Racist and violent comments can easily be identified, and then simply ignored. Many websites urge users “not to feed the trolls”, even with traffic signs. In Brazil, trolls are called pombos enxadristas (chess player pigeons), and the advice is not to play them, since all they can do is defecate on the board and knock over the pieces.

    • Malaysian cartoonist facing 43 years in prison

      Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, aka Zunar, is facing nine simultaneous charges under the country’s Sedition Act and will appear in court on 6 November. He could be sentenced to 43 years in prison for drawing cartoons that mock Malaysia’s corrupt government officials.

      Ahead of his court appearance, Zunar is coming to the UK to display a small selection of his work as part of the permanent exhibition at the Cartoon Museum and several other events.

    • Government Censorship Of Internet Speech

      Repressive regimes have sought to quell the speech of dissidents throughout history, and long before the advent of the Internet. It therefore is not entirely surprising that attempted censorship by governments will continue in the online world. But, hopefully, the Internet will help to foster free speech and communication, and will not be a means of governmental surveillance on citizens.

    • Quentin Tarantino, the NYPD and the First Amendment

      Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino exercised his First Amendment rights by speaking at a New York City protest against police brutality. At the October 24 event, he denounced “police terror,” and reportedly said this: “I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

      In response, Patrick Lynch, the head of New York’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association union, called Tarantino a “cop-hater” and said that it was “time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s films.” A union affiliated with the Los Angeles Police Department has reportedly endorsed the boycott as well.

    • Arpat uproar points to censorship flaws

      The hullabaloo around the Thai film Arpat, which features a misbehaving young monk, is the latest example of problems caused by what some people in the film industry perceive as flaws in the Film and Video Act 2008.

      Some of the controversial aspects of the law, which was passed by the coup-appointed National Legislative Assembly, include the composition of the censor committees, and the measure that allows a film to be banned for national security reasons.

      Also criticised were a conservative interpretation of the rules, and most importantly strict state control over film, compared to lighter regulation of other cheaper and more accessible media such as television and print.

    • Bollywood Directors and TVF Comedians Troll Censorship in New Video

      Kanu Behl, the debutant director of Titli which releases this Friday, October 30, along with producer Dibakar Banerjee, teamed up with TVF to make an episode on censorship in India. The fun video Censor Qtiyapa which released online on October 26, has gone viral and got more than two lakh views in less than 24 hours.

      The video featuring eminent filmmakers Mahesh Bhatt, Sudhir Mishra, Hansal Mehta, Kamal Swaroop, Ajay Bahl, producer Guneet Monga, Vasan Bala along with the Titli director and producer is directed by Shlok Sharma (director of Haramkhor).

      Excited about the tremendous response, the director Kanu Behl says, “The response to the video has been overwhelming. Close to 2 lakh hits in less than 24 hours, as we write this. It’s interesting to know that the audience across the board can bite in to the humour and get all the nuances of a film maker’s labour pains!”

    • Google Asked to Remove One Billion “Pirate” Search Results

      Copyright holders have asked Google to remove more than 1,000,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in recent years. The remarkable milestone, reached this week, is at the center of an ongoing debate over how search engines are expected to deal with pirate sites.

    • How The EU’s Proposed New ‘Privacy’ Rules Will Be A Tool For Massive Censorship

      We recently wrote about some concerns about the new Data Protection Directive that is being set up in Europe. The law is driven by people with good intentions: looking to better protect the privacy of European citizens. Privacy protection is an important concept — but the current plans appear to be so focused on privacy protection that it gives very little regard for the unintended consequences of the way it’s been set up. As we wrote in our last post, Daphne Keller at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society is writing a series of blog posts raising concerns about how the new rules clash with basic concepts of free speech. She’s now written one about the immensely troubling setup of the “notice and takedown” rules included in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For years, we’ve been concerned by problematic notice and takedown procedures — we’ve seen the DMCA frequently abused to stifle speech, rather than for genuine copyright challenges. But, for some reason, people often immediately leap to “notice and takedown solutions” for any kind of content they don’t like, they and the drafters of the GDPR are no different.

  • Privacy

    • JLENS blimp returns to Earth in Central Pennsylvania; military recovery ‘in progress’

      The military surveillance blimp that broke free of its mooring at Aberdeen Proving Ground Wednesday morning has returned to Earth after a four-hour, 160-mile, power line-snapping odyssey, authorities said.

      NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek said the runaway aircraft was on the ground near Moreland Township, Pa. — 160 miles north of its mooring in Edgewood — and was deflating. The blimp had slowly been losing helium, he said, and appears to have drifted to the ground.

    • Runaway Military Surveillance Blimp Drifts From Maryland to Pennsylvania

      Military officials scrambled Wednesday to retrieve an unmanned Army surveillance blimp that detached from its moorings in Maryland and drifted north over Pennsylvania.

      Two American fighter jets tracked the blimp, military officials said, that had been tethered at Aberdeen Proving Ground and broke free around noon.

    • Billion Dollar Surveillance Blimp to Launch over Maryland

      In just a few days, the Army will launch the first of two massive blimps over Maryland, the last gasp of an 18-year-long $2.8-billion Army project intended to use giant airships to defend against cruise missiles.

      And while the blimps may never stave off a barrage of enemy missiles, their ability to spot and track cars, trucks and boats hundreds of miles away is raising serious privacy concerns.

    • Did Your Senator Vote for CISA?

      The most outspoken group opposing the bill, Fight For the Future, noted in a scathing statement that the vote would be one we one day look back at as being formative for the internet.

      “This vote will go down in history as the moment that lawmakers decided not only what sort of Internet our children and our children’s children will have, but what sort of world they will live in,” the group wrote in an emailed statement. “Every Senator who voted for CISA has voted for a world without freedom of expression, a world without true democracy, a world without basic human rights.”

      It may not be that simple, but then again, maybe it is. So here’s a list of who voted for CISA, who voted against it, and who abstained. Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham are all in Denver for Wednesday’s debate. Paul is anti-CISA but didn’t think it was worth sticking around in Washington for the vote.

    • U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress – 1st Session
    • Mark Zuckerberg Courts China With Speech on People and Perseverance
    • Mark Zuckerberg, in India, Defends Facebook’s Plan to Expand Internet Access [Ed: zero-rating]

      Despite the promising, if difficult to verify, statistics, the program has not gone without complaints in India, the world’s largest democracy. Critics argue that by controlling which companies and individuals can offer services on Internet.org, Facebook is creating a walled-off kingdom in which it decides the beneficiaries of its initiative.

    • Email Encryption Is Broken

      Email was never designed to be private. When the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) was first invented, it didn’t come with protections or ways to check that a message really came from where it claimed to. Those came later, with the addition of extensions like STARTTLS for encrypting communications and others for authenticating messages.

    • Turns Out Police Stingray Spy Tools Can Indeed Record Calls

      The federal government has been fighting hard for years hide details about its use of so-called stingray surveillance technology from the public.

      The surveillance devices simulate cell phone towers in order to trick nearby mobile phones into connecting to them and revealing the phones’ locations.

      Now newly released documents confirm long-held suspicions that the controversial devices are also capable of recording numbers for a mobile phone’s incoming and outgoing calls, as well as intercepting the content of voice and text communications. The documents also discuss the possibility of flashing a phone’s firmware “so that you can intercept conversations using a suspect’s cell phone as a bug.”

    • Low-cost IMSI catcher for 4G/LTE networks tracks phones’ precise locations

      Researchers have devised a low-cost way to discover the precise location of smartphones using the latest LTE standard for mobile networks, a feat that shatters widely held perceptions that the standard is immune to the types of attacks that targeted earlier specifications.

      The attacks target the LTE specification, which is expected to have a user base of about 1.37 billion people by the end of the year, and require about $1,400 worth of hardware that run freely available open source software. The equipment can cause all LTE-compliant phones to leak their location to within a 32- to 64-foot (about 10 to 20 meter) radius and in some cases their GPS coordinates, although such attacks may be detected by savvy phone users. A separate method that’s almost impossible to detect teases out locations to within an area of roughly one square mile in an urban setting.

    • Europe wants a fresh data transfer pact with the US

      The European Union said on Monday it agreed in principle with the US on a new trans-Atlantic data transfer pact that’s still in the works, reports The Wall Street Journal.

      Earlier this month, a European court invalidated Safe Harbor, a 15-year old agreement that included laws which allowed technology companies to move user data between data centers if they guaranteed it would receive an “adequate level” of protection.

      The ruling came after Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems brought a case against Facebook in Ireland claiming that his privacy had been violated by the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. Following the court’s decision, Irish authorities said last week that they plan to investigate the social network’s data transfers under the act.

    • U.S. sees new EU data-sharing pact within reach

      A new transatlantic data-sharing agreement is within reach after the “Safe Harbour” deal used by thousands of companies to comply with EU privacy law was struck down by the highest EU court this month, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said.

      The so-called “Safe Harbour 2.0″ agreement currently being negotiated would meet European concerns about the transfer of data to the United States, Pritzker told journalists in Frankfurt on Thursday during a visit to Germany.

    • Safe Harbor 2.0: Judges to keep NSA spying in check – EU justice boss

      The NSA’s blanket surveillance of Europeans will be subject to judicial review, according to EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová.

      At a committee meeting of the European Parliament this week, Jourová provided details of the replacement to the struck-down safe harbor framework, which until this month allowed people’s personal information to flow across the Atlantic and into American servers.

      She told the hearing the new agreement would move away from the previous self-regulatory approach to one that allows for “pro-active” enforcement and sanctions.

    • EU Round-UP: Safe Harbor 2.0 And Upcoming National Challenges
    • Germany to investigate Google, Facebook data transfers to US

      Data protection authorities in Germany have announced that they will review the legality of internet giants’ data transfers from the EU to the US, after the European Court of Justice ruled that Europeans’ data isn’t safe from intelligence services on US-based servers.

    • Germany investigates claims of NSA-backed malware spying

      When word got out that both the US’ NSA and the UK’s GCHQ were likely using purpose-built Regin malware for their spying campaigns, that raised more than a few alarm bells… including in the German government, apparently. The country’s prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into a report that Regin infected (and thus monitored) the laptop of a Chancellery division leader. Officials aren’t jumping to conclusions yet, but it’s easy to guess where their suspicions lie — the concern is that allies are hacking into the devices of multiple German higher-ups, not just its Chancellor. If the evidence holds up, it could worsen political relationships that have already turned a bit sour.

    • Top German official infected by highly advanced spy trojan with NSA ties

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel may not be the only high-ranking leader from that country to be spied on by the National Security Agency. According to a report published over the weekend, German authorities are investigating whether the head of the German Federal Chancellery unit had his laptop infected with Regin, a highly sophisticated suite of malware programs that has been linked to the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters.

    • The Economic Consequences Of State Surveillance Programs

      State surveillance programs spell serious consequences for business — could Canada be next?

    • Anti-Surveillance Campaign Urges NSA Employees to Quit their Posts

      As part of the campaign, which is called Intelexit, the group have sought to place billboards as close as possible to the intelligence agency’s buildings across the world.

      A billboard posted near the NSA outpost and military base in Darmstadt, Germany, for example, said: “listen to your heart, not to private phone calls.”

      The group is planning to place a billboard outside GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham, UK. It is expected to read “the intelligence community needs a backdoor,” in a jibe at the UK and US governments, who are attempting to push through legislation allowing them to de-crypt all encrypted digital communications between their citizens.

    • The Senate’s New ‘Give the NSA All Your Private Info’ Bill Would Make George Orwell Blush

      While nobody was watching, the Senate a couple of days ago passed something called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which passed at least partly because if you say “Cyber warfare, boogedy-boogedy!” around nervous legislators these days, they’ll pass a bill agreeing to have the NSA plant microchips in their spleens. The bill passed by one of those bipartisan majorities so beloved by Beltway pundits, 74-21. Now it goes to conference, and its final passage may be stalled because of the currently fluid state of the House Republican leadership.

    • These Senators Voted “Yes” on CISA, But There’s Still Time to Change Their Minds

      As a cybersecurity bill, CISA is a joke: It doesn’t address the security problems that create the conditions for hacks. What it will create a streamlined information pipeline for the NSA.

    • Is the NSA trying to warn us that cryptography is dead?

      Back in August, the NSA released an updated advisory that was at once interesting and expected: It said that the world had to prepare for the oncoming impact of quantum computers, and the possibility that these devices could render existing computer cryptography almost completely obsolete. They called for the cryptographic community to invest heavily in developing so-called post-quantum cryptographic solutions that could survive this hypothetical watershed invention. And, as you might imagine, this advisory has very nearly driven the internet insane. Now, two security researchers have published a paper compiling all the various theories surrounding this advisory, and trying to make sense of the situation.

    • Online freedom hit as governments ramp up surveillance

      Global online freedom declined for a fifth consecutive year as governments around the world stepped up surveillance and censorship efforts, a study showed Wednesday.

      The annual report by non-government watchdog Freedom House said the setbacks were especially noticeable in the Middle East, reversing gains seen in the Arab Spring.

      Freedom House found declines in online freedom of expression in 32 of the 65 countries assessed since June 2014, with “notable declines” in Libya, France and Ukraine.

    • Mass surveillance: EU citizens’ rights still in danger, says Parliament

      Too little has been done to safeguard citizens’ fundamental rights following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They urge the EU Commission to ensure that all data transfers to the US are subject to an “effective level of protection” and ask EU member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden, as a “human rights defender”. Parliament also raises concerns about surveillance laws in several EU countries.

    • UK government: We don’t want backdoors, just access to all communications

      The UK government has said that it recognises the “essential role that strong encryption plays in enabling the protection of sensitive personal data and securing online communications and transactions,” and does not “advocate or require the provision of a back-door key or support arbitrarily weakening the security of internet applications and services.” However, speaking in the House of Lords, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Baroness Shields, went on to say: “This is not about creating back doors; this is about companies being able to access communications on their network when presented with a warrant.”

      Shields singled out “an alarming movement towards end-to-end encrypted application” for criticism. She said that David Cameron “expressed concern that many companies are building end-to-end encrypted applications and services and not retaining the keys. The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that there cannot be a safe place for terrorists, criminals and paedophiles to operate freely, with impunity and beyond the reach of law.” For this reason, she claimed, “It is absolutely essential that these companies which understand and build those stacks of technology are able to decrypt that information and provide it to law enforcement in extremis.”

    • UK police push for powers to access your Web browsing history for the last year

      UK police are lobbying the government to be given access to every UK Internet user’s Web browsing history as part of the new Snooper’s Charter—the Investigatory Powers Bill—which is expected to be published next week. According to The Guardian, the police want to revive the controversial plan for ISPs to store details about every website visited by customers for 12 months, an idea first mooted in the original Communications Data Bill, which was dropped after opposition from the Liberal Democrats when they were part of the previous coalition government.

      Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman for data communications, is quoted as saying: “We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication”—who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?”

    • Police to be granted powers to view your internet history

      Police are to get the power to view the web browsing history of everyone in the country.

      Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the plans when she introduces the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

      The Telegraph understands the new powers for the police will form part of the new bill.

    • Michigan State Police Used Forfeiture Funds To Upgrade Its Stingray

      There are a few ways law enforcement agencies acquire cell tower spoofers. Very rarely do agencies pay for these expensive devices themselves. (Meaning with their funds drawn from their own departments. Obviously, no government agency is self-funded.) In most cases, funding in whole or in part is obtained from the DHS — something nearly any agency can obtain simply by checking [X] BECAUSE TERRORISM when applying for a Homeland Security grant.

    • Open source intelligence techniques and the Dark Web

      Techniques like Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) gathering and a proper understanding of the Dark Web is the first step in combating the Internet’s dark places. With an understanding of how to use open source encrypted anonymity services safely, organisations can explore OSINT sources – which include web-based communities, user-generated content, social-networking sites, wikis, blogs and news sources – to investigate potential threats or analyse relevant information for business purposes.

      Whether that’s using Deep and Dark web sites and directories to support intelligence gathering for investigation purposes, manage incidents or to combat cyber crime.

    • Court says it’s legal for NSA to spy on you because Congress says it’s OK

      You gotta love this twisted logic.

      In May, a federal appeals court declared the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata collection program illegal because it wasn’t authorized under the Patriot Act, as the Obama administration and its predecessor administration had maintained.

      Then, in June, Congress semi-dismantled the program with the passage of the USA Freedom Act, which President Obama signed on June 2. As part of the new act, Congress authorized a spying transition period of sorts where the old tactics could continue until new laws were in place.

    • Ex-NSA Cybersecurity Leader’s Startup Secures $32.5M

      IronNet, a cybersecurity company founded by the former director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command, secured $32.5 million in a Series A funding round.

    • IronNet, Founded by Ex-NSA Boss, Gains Funding
    • Ex-NSA head’s start-up raises $32.5m

      Former US National Security Agency (NSA) director Keith Alexander’s cyber security start-up, IronNet Cybersecurity, said yesterday it had raised $32.5 million in a “Series A” funding round led by Trident Capital Cybersecurity.

    • Former NSA Subcontractor Pleads Guilty To Filing False Time Sheets

      A former National Security Agency (NSA) subcontractor from Augusta has pleaded guilty to charges that he filed falsified time sheets.

    • NSA-Proof Wallpaper? Utah Company Invents Material to Keep Spies Out
    • The IRS Has Some of the Same Spy Tech As the NSA and FBI

      Previous investigations by the ACLU have shown that Stingrays are used by many government agencies—including the DEA, FBI, NSA, and local and state police​—across many states. Their use is so widespread in part because they only require a relatively low-level court order for use, which makes them an enticing alternative to attempting to get actual cell tower records with a warrant.

    • More on Standing As a Barrier to Surveillance Challenges: Bug or Feature?
    • United States judge dismisses Wikimedia lawsuit over NSA mass spying
    • Two ACLU Defeats Highlight Judiciary’s Lopsided Deference to Executive Branch Secrecy

      The American Civil Liberties Union suffered major defeats on Friday, when two of its cases involving clear violations of civil rights and civil liberties were dismissed, both undone by the judiciary’s deference to executive-branch secrecy.

    • Federal judge dismisses challenge to NSA surveillance

      The court modeled its opinion on the US Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International [JURIST report] that on matters of unconstitutionality surrounding intelligence gathering, the court is to be particularly rigorous.

  • Civil Rights

    • Newsnight journalist’s laptop seized by UK police under Terrorism Act

      Police have used special powers from the counter-terrorism laws in order to seize a laptop that belongs to a journalist from BBC Newsnight, it has emerged.

      The BBC and Secunder Kermani, who joined the broadcaster’s flagship current affairs programme last year and has reported extensively on UK-born jihadis, were the target of an order officers obtained from a judge under the Terrorism Act.

      Police sought the order to read communications between Kermani and a man in Syria who had publicly identified himself as a member of Islamic State and who had featured in Newsnight reports.

    • Police use terror powers to seize BBC Newsnight journalist’s laptop

      Police have used powers under the Terrorism Act to seize the laptop of a young Newsnight journalist in a case that has shocked BBC colleagues and alarmed freedom of speech campaigners, The Independent can disclose.

      Officers obtained an order from a judge that was served on the BBC and Secunder Kermani, who joined the flagship BBC2 news show early last year and has produced a series of reports on British-born jihadis.

      The development has caused alarm among BBC journalists. The editor of Newsnight, Ian Katz said: “While we would not seek to obstruct any police investigation we are concerned that the use of the Terrorism Act to obtain communication between journalists and sources will make it very difficult for reporters to cover this issue of critical public interest.”

    • Media Figures Blame Student After She Is Slammed To The Ground By Police Officer

      Media figures defended a school resource officer who was seen on video violently “slamm[ing] to the ground” a student in South Carolina, and blamed the student for not showing the officer and her teachers respect.

    • Student Arrested Says She Was Standing Up for Classmate

      Niya Kenny, 18, is speaking out after she was taken into custody in her Spring Valley High School math class. She says she was standing up for her classmate who was being arrested by Student Resource Officer Ben Fields.

    • Second student arrested for filming classroom takedown describes officer’s reputation: “He’s known as Officer Slam around our school”

      Officer Ben Fields, the South Carolina deputy who slammed and then threw a female high school student across a classroom this week, has been fired after video of his physical assault went viral. While the young girl recovers from injuries she sustained from the attack, according to her lawyer, officials have refused to drop criminal charges of disrupting a classroom against her and now one of the few students who protested against her violent arrest is speaking out about the fired deputy’s longstanding reputation at Spring Valley High.

    • Police clash with Kosovo Albanian protesters

      United Nations police fired tear gas during clashes with ethnic Albanians protesting in the Kosovo capital yesterday against a UN plan on the fate of the breakaway Serbian province.

    • Europe Union Risks ‘Tectonic Changes’ as Migrant Flow Swells to Over 700,000

      Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II risks triggering “tectonic changes”, a top EU official warned Tuesday, as figures showed more than 700,000 newcomers have reached the continent’s Mediterranean shores this year.

    • Court: Your Fourth And Fifth Amendment Rights No Longer Exist If You Leave The Country

      The DC Appeals Court has just come to an unfortunate conclusion: because terrorism exists, your rights as a citizen will not be upheld if you travel outside of the United States. This summary of the case is from Lawfare’s David Ryan, whose article claims this is a “victory” for the DOJ, rather than a loss for the American public.

    • Victory for DOJ in Bivens Suit Related to Overseas Terrorism Investigation

      The Department of Justice won a significant victory yesterday when the D.C. Circuit held in Meshal v. Higgenbotham that a plaintiff cannot state a cause of action under Bivens for alleged constitutional violations that occur during a terrorism investigation in a foreign country.

    • Marking One Year in Prison for Alaa Abd El Fattah

      Alaa is currently serving a five-year sentence for his role in a protest just two days after the passing of Egypt’s 2013 anti-protest law. While many others involved in the protest were pardoned after serving their first year, Alaa, along with Ahmed Abdel Rahman, has remained imprisoned. Since January 2011, when Egypt rose up against Hosni Mubarak, Alaa has spent more than 500 days in prison. His first arrest after the revolution coincided with his second trip to the United States, to attend RightsCon. He left San Francisco to fly directly back to Cairo, where he immediately faced a military prosecutor and a set of trumped-up charges that kept him in jail for 55 days. He has since been in and out of prison several times. He missed the birth of his first child, Khaled, and the death of his father last summer. He has undoubtedly missed so much more.

    • “With ‘free’ services, you are the product”: Censorship, the internet — and why fighting back works

      I am a free speech absolutist. Free speech, however, does not protect criminality, or threats of violence.

      Threats of violence must be taken seriously and prosecuted by law enforcement.

      That’s why — like The Rebel — I’m watching the case of “Israel vs Facebook” very closely.

      There’s no reason why companies such as Twitter or Facebook should be protected from legal actions when clear and present threats are being uploaded and circulated on their networks. As private companies, they can decide who is allowed to have an account or not, but they have a responsibility to existing criminal laws regarding threats of violence against general or specific targets.

    • USDA whistleblower claims censorship of pesticide research

      A senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a whistleblower complaint on Wednesday accusing the federal agency of suppressing research findings that could call into question the use of a popular pesticide class that is a revenue powerhouse for the agrichemical industry.

      Jonathan Lundgren, a senior research entomologist with the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service who has spent 11 years with the agency based in Brookings, S.D., said that retaliation and harassment from inside USDA started in April 2014, following media interviews he gave in March of that year regarding some of his research conclusions.

      Lundgren’s work has included extensive examination of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, which are widely used by U.S. farmers to control pest damage to corn and other crops, helping protect production. The insecticides are sold in forms that both are sprayed on plants or coated on seeds before they are planted. They are also used on plants sold by lawns and garden retailers.

    • DEA Agents Caught Soliciting Prostitutes Rewarded With Light Punishments, Bonus Checks

      At the end of September, Brad Heath and Meghan Hoyer of USA Today published a DEA disciplinary log they’d obtained through an FOIA request. The document was obviously misnamed, as it showed plenty of misconduct by DEA agents, but not much in the way of discipline.

    • VICTORY: State Department Decides Not to Classify “Cyber Products” as “Munitions”

      This week, the U.S. Department of State’s Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG) met to decide whether to classify “cyber products” as munitions, placing them in the same export control regime as hand grenades and fighter planes. Thankfully, common sense won out and the DTAG recommended that “cyber products” not be added to the control list. EFF and Access Now filed a brief joint statement with the DTAG urging this outcome and we applaud the DTAG’s decision.

      There were a number of problems with the proposal to place “cyber products” on the U.S. Munitions List, but most importantly, no one knows how “cyber products” would be defined. As we’ve long argued in other contexts, trying to draw definitions around “defensive” and “offensive” tools is essentially impossible and any vagueness would have significant chilling effects on the security community. In essence, we think that the threshold problem of defining which “cyber products” are subject to control is likely an insurmountable obstacle to effective regulation.

    • An Award for a Jailed Saudi Blogger

      Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced last year to a decade in prison and 50 lashes a week for 20 weeks—a punishment that has been carried out once so far—for the crime of insulting Islam on his website. On Thursday, the European Parliament awarded Badawi the Sakharov Prize, its human-rights award.

      “The conference of Presidents decided that the Sakharov Prize will go to Saudi blogger Raif Badawi,” Martin Schulz, the parliament’s president, said. “This man, who is an extremely good man and an exemplary good man, has had imposed on him one of the most gruesome penalties that exist in this country which can only be described as brutal torture.”

      Schulz called on Saudi King Salman to release Badawi, who was arrested in 2012 and initially sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison—a punishment that was increased to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison after an appeal. Badawi was accused of insulting Islam on his website Free Saudi Liberals, which served as a forum for debate.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EU Parliament adopts highly ambiguous Net Neutrality legislation

      Unfortunately, MEPs have created large loopholes and left ambiguity in much of the legislation. Net neutrality is the principle whereby Internet access providers treat internet traffic equally. Because of the vagueness of the new regulations, telecoms regulators in EU Member States will now have to decide whether telecoms companies in their country will be able to prioritise different categories of data.

    • Wi-Fi was no accident

      Wi-Fi is an incredible success story– carrying the majority of Internet traffic, responsible for over $90 billion in economic value for the United States in 2013 and a powerful force in closing the digital divide. The success of Wi-Fi demonstrates the power of unlicensed spectrum. But how did we get here? The story of how technologies like Wi-Fi have come to have such a significant impact on our lives will help us think about the future of unlicensed spectrum.

    • The FCC Has To Remind ISPs Not To Spend Taxpayer Subsidies On Booze, Trips To Disney World

      For many years now, the General Accounting Office has warned the FCC that if it’s going to throw billions of dollars at giant ISPs, it might just want to track how that money is spent. GAO reports like this one from 2009 (pdf) noted that not only has the FCC historically done a dismal job at tracking subsidy spending, most government broadband policies have been based on flawed, incomplete or downright hallucinated data (just check out our $300 million US broadband map). In other words, for the better part of fifteen years our government not only didn’t really know where broadband funding was needed, it couldn’t be bothered to track if it was actually going there.

    • Mark Zuckerberg: net neutrality is a first-world problem

      Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has hit out at net neutrality advocates who claim that zero-rating – the practice of offering access to certain popular online services for free – should be prohibited.

    • Telekom will put a cash till on Internet video/gaming/coms and monetize it from start-ups
    • A multi-speed Europe

      INTERNET providers will be barred from charging online businesses for “fast lanes”—that is, giving priority to their traffic—except for certain specialised services, such as videoconferencing or telesurgery. They also must not block or slow traffic other than reasonably to manage their networks, such as to avoid congestion.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lego Tells Political Artist To Hit The Bricks, Refusing To Sell Him Legos

      LEGOs. Yes, the basic building block of our youthful imagination also holds a rather ugly over-protective side, in which it uses whatever tool happens to be nearest by to smash up any use of its products that it doesn’t fully endorse. Which, when you think about it, is really weird for a company that makes products that are essentially all about imaginative uses. Children building their own colorful castle? Awesome! But an adult using LEGOs to create political art? Oh, no, no, no.

    • 3D printing may not be for every home–and that is a good thing for IP

      Will IP matter? The question seems to arise in the wake of every new disruptive technology. It is no surprise, therefore, that it is being asked in connection with 3D printing, where digital content, easily distributed over the network, is married to the potential for making a myriad of objects in any location where a 3D printer can be operated (think: your home). If the concern a decade ago was how to regulate the downloading of a movie or a song, today it is how to regulate the downloading of a digital file containing all the instructions to make a perfect copy of a product, down to its trade mark. Recalling the discussion a decade or two ago regarding the downloading of digital songs and movies, suggestions are made for various technological solutions. More generally, calls are made for a cultural make-over, where the consumer will habitually come to prefer the genuine product, e.g., using authorized digital instructions and the correct product materials, within the context of 3D printing.

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom’s Bid to Halt Extradition Hearing Fails, Defense Begins

        Efforts by Kim Dotcom’s legal team to have his extradition hearing thrown out have failed today. As a result the Megaupload founder will begin his defense next week, presenting legal argument that he hopes will stop New Zealand authorities sending him to the United States. Defiant, Dotcom insists that he “won’t be silenced by bullies!”

      • Academics have found a way to access insanely expensive research papers—for free

        Most academic journals charge expensive subscriptions and, for those without a login, fees of $30 or more per article. Now academics are using the hashtag #icanhazpdf to freely share copyrighted papers.

        Scientists are tweeting a link of the paywalled article along with their email address in the hashtag—a riff on the infamous meme of a fluffy cat’s “I Can Has Cheezburger?” line. Someone else who does have access to the article downloads a pdf of the paper and emails the file to the person requesting it. The initial tweet is then deleted as soon as the requester receives the file.

      • Copyright Fail: ‘Pirating’ Academic Papers Not Only Commonplace, But Now Seen As Mainstream

        Techdirt has been writing about open access for many years. The idea and practice are certainly spreading, but they’re spreading more slowly than many in the academic world had hoped. That’s particularly frustrating when you’re a researcher who can’t find a particular academic paper freely available as open access, and you really need it now. So it’s no surprise that people resort to other methods, like asking around if anyone has a copy they could send. The Internet being the Internet, it’s also no surprise that this ad-hoc practice has evolved into a formalized system, using Twitter and the hashtag #icanhazpdf to ask other researchers if they have a copy of the article in question. But what is surprising is that recently there have been two articles on mainstream sites that treat the approach as if it’s really quite a reasonable thing to do.

      • Spotify reduces piracy, but also cuts into digital track sales

        New research from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre shows that Spotify has helped to reduce the level of piracy in the countries where it is available. The work also reveals that Spotify reduces the number of digital track sales, but that those losses are cancelled out by the licensing fees paid by Spotify.


Links 28/10/2015: Xiaomi’s GNU/Linux Laptops and OpenStack’s Massive Expansion

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Iconic Linux debate sparks an open source career

    In 1997 I left Tandem (Compaq) and found an ISP. Two years later, I was heading the IT department of Univates, a university center in the South of Brasil. There we developed several free software systems, such as SAGU (an academic ERP) and GNUteca (a library loan and administrative system). In 2003, I helped found Solis, the first free software co-op in the world. I told the Solis story in Linux Journal in 2004, and the co-op is still very active and has generated several spin-offs.

  • Mycroft AI Already Working on Linux Desktops, Integration Has Started

    The Mycroft developers have been working to adapt the speech recognition system for the Linux desktop, and they have already taken the first steps.

  • Desktop

    • Confirmed: Two Xiaomi Linux Laptops All Set For Mass Production In 2016

      According to a press release by Inventec, it is currently collaborating with Xiaomi to produce two laptops, which would be introduced under the Xiaomi brand. The laptops are reportedly scheduled for an early 2016 release.

    • Xiaomi preps Linux laptops for the post Christmas sales rush

      Pumped up by a (claimed) $1bn in profit in 2015, Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi will start selling Linux laptops early next year, according to a report.

      DigiTimes suggests that two models will be built by contract manufacturers, Inventec and Compal, and feature 12.5 inch and 13.3 inch displays.

      According to the trade paper, Xiaomi has been tapping up Lenovo executives “aggressively” to manage the new laptop venture.

    • Old iMac Ubuntu Studio Installation

      I definitely think you’re on the right path for getting more life out of the old Mac. I recently did some testing with a 2010 Macbook Pro (6,2 version) and Ubuntu MATE. It’s more involved than simply installing Linux onto a PC, but it’s totally possible. Unlike Macbook Pro laptops however, the process should be a bit easier with the iMac.

  • Server

    • Poof! You’re also a Linux administrator. Now what?

      Running Linux in the enterprise often meant little more than an experiment that was sequestered in a lab environment, far away from the production side. But this former interloper is now inching across networks, as it has matured and has become more accepted due to its prominence in established cloud platforms and emerging container technologies. Even Microsoft has dropped its campaign against the open source operating system and has gone so far as to develop its own version of Linux to run part of the Azure cloud platform.

    • HP Creates Open Source Network Operating System

      The digital nature of our world has created a need for more adaptable network operating systems (NOS’s). Networks handle large amounts of data every day, which has created a need for on-demand scalability. As such, HP has teamed up with a variety of supporters, including Arista, Broadcom and Intel, to address this problem and create OpenSwitch, an open source NOS. With OpenSwitch, developers can now collaborate, test new theories and innovate to develop higher-quality networks for organizations. Furthermore, these networks can be customized to accommodate specific business needs.

    • A day in the life of a cloud architect

      OpenStack can be an enigma. We have open source purists who profess by the virtues of OpenStack, even as a multitude of enterprise aficionados wonder if OpenStack is right for them. Fortunately we have cloud practice leader Vijay Chebolu and cloud architect Vinny Valdez to cut the clutter. In their roles at Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice, Vijay and Vinny deliver Open Stack solutions to customers.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Cinnamon 2.8 Gets Its First Point Release, Several Bugs Were Fixed

      We reported a few days ago on the Cinnamon 2.8 desktop environment and the massive amount of features it includes, but it looks like the first point release is already available for download.

    • The Beauty of the i3 Tiling Window Manager

      If you don’t have much need for a full desktop environment, i3 is a great option. And the beauty of Linux is that if I do need something more robust, desktop-wise, Unity is just a login session a way. But aside from going into it for screenshots and for some odd trackpad configurations I couldn’t figure out in i3 (I’ve since discovered the joy of gsynaptics, which works just fine from i3), it’s really been a pleasure to use.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Chakra GNU/Linux to Use KDE Plasma 5 as Default Desktop Environment

      Neofytos Kolokotronis was more than happy to announce that his Arch Linux-based Chakra GNU/Linux distribution will finally make the switch from the old-school KDE4 desktop environment to KDE Plasma 5.

    • Reviews

      • Xfce Smooth: the smooth variations

        Xfce Smooth is an interesting distribution. It shows you what you can do yourself using the [very] good distribution as a start and playing with themes, icon sets and fonts. You can change your system’s look very much to your own taste.

        The question is still whether you need to download a distribution that someone has already created for you, or start it yourself from scratch. The benefit of using of Xfce Smooth in this case is that it already has a lot of icon sets, fonts, themes to choose from. You do not need to search, download and install them. Just start playing with your selection!

        In terms of performance, I had almost no issues with Xfce Smooth at all. It felt very snappy, fast, responsive and… really smooth! The only small issue was with the Keyring password request that appeared several times.

        Would I use this distribution myself? Probably not. I am not a fancier of different fonts, icon and mouse pointer styles to play with them. I would rather stick to something more classic.

      • First Look at Ubuntu Gnome 15.10

        Okay, so that wasn’t the final note. While I doubt any of my three readers work for major laptop vendors, I really want to see a push for physical kill switches on things like the camera and the microphone, such as on the Librem 15. I considered getting one of those but they are a little sketchy on what “PureOS” actually is, and so I’ll wait to see what others think of it first.

      • Linux cousins Part 2: Reviewing ReactOS, the Open Source version of Windows [Ed: not Linux]

        ReactOS is built with the primary purpose of providing full binary compatibility with applications (and device drivers) written for Windows Server 2003. That means you can literally take a piece of software built for Windows and run it on ReactOS, without too much trouble

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 RC4 Released

        Today we are releasing RC4. Release Candidate 4 is a major bug and application fix that plagued users of the RC2 and RC3 series. With that we also have some changes that came along and landed in RC4. Some visual changes and some application changes.

      • IPFire 2.17 – Core Update 94 released

        This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.17 – Core Update 94 which is a release with smaller security fixes and a maintenance release in general.

      • IPFire 2.17 Open-Source Firewall Gets Internal Mail Agent

        Michael Tremer, one of the developers for the ipfire.org team, has just announced that IPFire 2.17 Core 94, a new build of the popular Linux-based firewall distribution, is now available for download.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Forums

        I also gave the OpenMandriva Games page a try and found the proposal interesting despite that the games there are not the ones I play. I guess it would be great to be able to play Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation again, but Steam is doing a wonderful job to satisfy my occasional gaming needs.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSE: Rolling Awesome of the Day

        If you’re a Tumbleweed and KDE aficionado, this is a good day. You’ll see some major updates:

        Plasma 5.4.2
        Frameworks 5.15
        Applications 15.08.2
        Qt 5.5.1

        Now, yes, that’s all minor versions but stability is a big deal!

      • OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Lands Many KDE-Related Updates

        The rolling-release openSUSE Tumblewed distribution has landed a number of significant KDE package updates.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat opens up Ceph storage to other cloud leaders

        Red Hat’s Ceph is a popular software-defined object and file cloud storage stack. While the code is open source, Red Hat has directed the project’s strategic direction. Until now. At the Toyko OpenStack Summit, Red Hat announced Ceph’s overall direction will be put into the hands of the newly formed Ceph Advisory Board.

      • Red Hat CIO: Business advice on IT value

        To be truly successful as an IT organization, you must bring new ideas to drive revenue or reduce cost for the business as a whole. If you don’t, they’ll do it without you where there is a critical need and they have a budget. Then, you’ll end up with a non-integrated set of solutions and potentially security exposures.

      • Darcy on the future of storage

        We’ve been at this dance before with Linux. People have been asking if Red Hat was going to be like Microsoft, and I told everyone: nope. We’re transfering the wealth that the proprietary lock-in vendors were collecting back to the users. That was the whole idea. In the process, we’re collecting less – a more reasonable amount, necessary to put stuff together and make it run. Therefore, we’re not going to be as wealthy off users’ backs. But the society as a whole benefits.

      • Analysts Anticipate Red Hat to Announce $0.31 Earnings Per Share (NYSE:RHT)

        Wall Street brokerages predict that Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) will report earnings per share (EPS) of $0.31 for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Nine analysts have provided estimates for Red Hat’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.30 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.32. Red Hat reported earnings per share of $0.30 during the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year over year growth rate of 3.3%. The business is expected to issue its next earnings results on Thursday, December 17th.

      • Red Hat Incorporated (NYSE:RHT) rated: Will Analysts Continue to rate Red Hat Incorporated a 1.59 on ratings scale?

        The overall rating for the company is 1.59. The rating is an average of the various different ratings given by analysts and brokers to Red Hat Incorporated, and then averaged into one rating by a team of analysts at Zacks in Chicago, Illinois.

      • Short Interest Update on Red Hat, Inc.
      • Lenovo and Red Hat Expand Trusted Portfolio of Cloud Offerings

        Lenovo on October 27 announced an extended strategic collaboration with Red Hat to deliver powerful IT infrastructure, automation and management capabilities including Red Hat Enterprise Linux Openstack Platform and CloudForms.

      • Citrix collaborates with Red Hat
      • College partners with Dell and Red Hat — embraces open source and Linux solutions

        While not all open source solutions are better than the closed source alternatives, opting for the former for underlying infrastructure is generally a good idea. This will provide a business with flexibility and stability while sometimes saving money too.

        A Singapore school, the Yale-NUS College, had some needs revolving around the cloud, so it wisely chose two open source friendly companies to help — Dell and Red Hat. The OpenStack cloud solution, a product that was co-created by the two aforementioned companies, has been a huge success for the college.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora summer 2016 internships.

          There are three USA internship positions open at Red Hat on the Fedora Engineering team. These internships are all available this coming summer (2016).

        • Is that the right mailing list? Is that the right audience?

          All too often, I see people opting to go for the least-public list when opening discussions. Part of this, I think, is just human laziness. You get into a routine, and stick with it. This is doubly hard to overcome when an initiative starts “behind the firewall” and then moves into the public.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 7 things to do after installing Ubuntu

            The Ubuntu project recently announced the release of Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) and its official flavors such as Kubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, etc. Different ‘Ubuntus’ come with different desktop environments that have different sets of applications pre-packaged. But there are certain things that any Ubuntu user should do to get most out of the distro, regardless of the flavor. Here are a few of things I recommend you do after installing Ubuntu… any Ubuntu, for that matter.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Daily Builds Now Available for Download

            With Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) out the door, the Ubuntu developers are not wasting any time, and they’ve already started to work on the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Will Be Released on April 21, 2016
          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) to Be Powered Soon by Linux Kernel 4.3 RC7

            The development of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) has started, and we even know the launch date for it. We can now begin to track the Linux kernels that will be implemented in the daily builds.

          • Ubuntu Touch to Get the Major OTA-8 Update in Two Weeks, Feature Freeze in Effect

            Ubuntu developers have been busy with the next OTA update that is planned for Ubuntu Touch, and it looks like they are now clearing the way for the next release. A feature freeze is now in effect for the new OTA update.

          • Ubuntu in talks to make handsets in India

            The government’s open source policy has given a tremendous push to Microsoft Windows alternatives. Canonical, maker of popular Linux-based operating system Ubuntu, has been piggybacking on this opportunity to penetrate into the government and education sector in the country.

            Ubuntu is now eyeing the mobile and Internet of Things markets in India as its next growth driver. The company recently launched its two smartphones in India through Snapdeal. The two handsets, which are available globally, are manufactured by Spanish manufacturer Aquaris. However, Ubuntu is in talks with local handset makers for possible ‘Make in India’ deal.

          • Canonical Announces OpenStack Cloud App Store for Ubuntu Linux

            Canonical is launching yet another app store for Ubuntu Linux. Unlike its great, late desktop-oriented predecessor, however, this one is focused on the OpenStack cloud, with apps delivered via Juju.

            Ubuntu founder and former CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced the new app store at the OpenStack Summit this week in Tokyo. The platform will provide a way for people running Ubuntu-based OpenStack clouds to install cloud applications via Juju and Horizon, the web-based management interface for OpenStack.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • New Opera, Chakra Plasma 5, Riddell Responds

              A new Opera Web browser has landed for Linux users bring new features and improved multimedia support. Jonathan Riddell posted a short response to Ubuntu’s statement on the community councils and a couple of reviews deserve mentioning. For Chakra users, a switch to Plasma 5 was announced.

            • Kubuntu’s founder resigns, accuses Canonical of defrauding donors and violating copyright

              Jonathan Riddell—who founded Kubuntu a decade ago—has stepped down as release manager and will be headed upstream to KDE. This comes after a lengthy period of spats between Riddell and the Ubuntu Community Council. On Reddit, Riddell punctuated his resignation by once again accusing Canonical—the company behind Ubuntu—of defrauding donors and violating copyrights.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • France and Germany to promote eInvoicing

    France and Germany are to encourage companies to use eInvoicing an the two countries will continue to work together on the development of common technical standards to facilitate this, according to a joint statement made at the “Accelerate the digital transformation of our economies” conference in Paris on 27 October.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cutting Sugar Improves Children’s Health in Just 10 Days

      Obese children who cut back on their sugar intake see improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol readings and other markers of health after just 10 days, a rigorous new study found.

      The new research may help shed light on a question scientists have long debated: Is sugar itself harming health, or is the weight gain that comes from consuming sugary drinks and foods mainly what contributes to illness over the long term?

    • Will Everyone Please Eat Gluten? Please? Because You Are Literally Killing Me, Kind Of

      A new study by the NPD group shows that 29% of Americans are now trying to cut gluten out of their diets, most of them just cause. Every time another person makes this foolish decision, my life gets harder.

    • Buckraking on the Food Beat: When Is It a Conflict of Interest?

      In an age of shrinking newspaper budgets, it’s common for editors to rely on freelance writers–and for freelancers to add to their incomes with side projects. But is it a conflict of interest for a columnist who covers food and agriculture to take money from agrichemical industry interest groups?

  • Security

    • Mac OS X applications are leading the PC vulnerability war

      GENTLEMEN ADJUST YOUR PC threat league tables. Apple has usurped Oracle as the top blight, according to security firm Secunia.

      The picture is bleak across the board, and the firm found that a huge whack of PCs are are running old, beleaguered, unpatched and end-of-life versions of software. This presents a problem to the user and computers in general.

    • U.S. military cyber security fails to make the grade

      The United States Department of Defense is still issuing SHA-1 signed certificates for use by military agencies, despite this practice being banned by NIST for security reasons nearly two years ago. These certificates are used to protect sensitive communication across the public internet, keeping the transmitted information secret from eavesdroppers and impersonators. The security level provided by these DoD certificates is now below the standard Google considers acceptable for consumer use on the web.

      The Missile Defense Agency, the eventual successor to the “Star Wars” programme, uses one of these SHA-1 certificates on a Juniper Networks remote access device. The SHA-1 certificate was issued by the Department of Defense in February 2015, long after NIST declared this practice to be unacceptable.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • MEP: Transparency negotiations on trade agreements must be a priority

      Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) wants furthering transparency around trade negotiations to be a priority for the EU. Today the European Parliament voted in favour of a proposal by Schaake to make more money available to make information about EU trade policy more accessible and to bring it to the attention of people, the proposal would cover 300,000 euros. Schaake: “I am glad that the Parliament has supported this initiative, even if it concerns a relatively small amount of money. It is clear that people increasingly want more explanation about EU trade policy, in the first place in the context of negotiations with the United States, but also more broadly. I want to make sure that the Commission does not only put texts online, which is already being done, but also actively engages with citizens and stakeholders, for example by organising meetings and information sharing events, European member states and the Trade ministers must play a much larger role here, too.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate Activists Want A Public Editor For Murdoch-Owned National Geographic

      Climate activists are calling on National Geographic to hire a public editor to keep tabs on its editorial approach following the magazine’s purchase by a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch has repeatedly made scientifically inaccurate comments about climate change, and recently lamented “alarmist nonsense” on the issue.

      The National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox announced last month an expansion of their current partnership to include National Geographic’s cable channels, its flagship magazine, and other digital and social media.

      As National Geographic explained, “Under the $725-million deal, Fox, which currently holds a majority stake in National Geographic’s cable channels, will own 73 percent of the new media company, called National Geographic Partners. The National Geographic Society will own 27 percent.”

      “We will now have the scale and reach to fulfill our mission long into the future,” National Geographic Society CEO Gary E. Knell said at the time. “The Society’s work will be the engine that feeds our content creation efforts, enabling us to share that work with even larger audiences and achieve more impact. It’s a virtuous cycle.”

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Fake News Food Chain

      It’s a problem when presidential candidates from a major political party are getting their information about the world from a news outlet that evidently can’t tell the difference between a sub-Onion hoax site and actual news. It’s an even bigger problem when those candidates bring those bogus claims onto supposedly reputable network TV—and the real journalists aren’t able to recognize that the politicians they’re interviewing are parroting garbage factoids from Fox‘s land of make-believe.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Apple unlock: Judge compares request to execution order
    • Tech Companies and Civil Liberties Groups Force Obama To Weigh In On Encryption Debate

      President Obama will now be forced to publicly describe the extent of his commitment to protecting strong encryption, after nearly 50 major technology companies, human rights groups, and civil liberties collectives—including Twitter, the ACLU, and Reddit — succeeded in getting over 100,000 signatures on a White House petition on Tuesday.

      The government’s “We the People” platform, created in 2011, was designed as “a clear and easy way for the American people to petition their government.” Once a petition gains 100,000 signatures, it is guaranteed a response.

      The savecrypto.org petition demands that Obama “publicly affirm your support for strong encryption” and “reject any law, policy, or mandate that would undermine our security.”

    • CISA data-sharing bill passes Senate with no privacy protections

      CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S. 754), will allow private companies to share cyber-threat data with the federal government, including personal user data, in an effort to prevent cyberattacks, such as those on the scale of Target, Home Depot, and Sony. Companies that share data with federal agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), will be given legal and liability protections from lawsuits relating to data sharing.

    • Senate passes controversial cybersecurity bill Cisa 74 to 21

      The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a controversial cybersecurity bill critics say will allow the government to collect sensitive personal data unchecked, over the objections of civil liberties groups and many of the biggest names in the tech sector.

      The vote on Tuesday was 74 to 21 in support of the legislation. Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders voted against the bill. None of the Republican presidential candidates (except Lindsey Graham, who voted in favor) were present to cast a vote, including Rand Paul, who has made privacy from surveillance a major plank of his campaign platform.

      Ahead of the vote a group of university professors specializing in tech law, many from the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy, sent an open letter to the Senate, urging them not to pass the bill. The bill, they wrote, would fatally undermine the Freedom of Information Act (Foia).

    • Senate Passes CISA, The Surveillance Bill Masquerading As A Cybersecurity Bill; Here’s Who Sold Out Your Privacy

      After rejecting all the good privacy amendments to CISA, the Senate has now officially passed the legislation by a 74 to 21 vote. About the only “good” news is that the vote is lower than the 83 Senators who voted for cloture on it last week. Either way, the Senate basically just passed a bill that will almost certainly be used mainly for warrantless domestic surveillance, rather than any actual cybersecurity concern.

    • Will New Cybersecurity Bill Lock Down Security or Invade Our Privacy?

      The problem, of course, is that with immunity protection, companies may feel no qualms about revealing far more personal information about customers and partners than they ever did before. Immunity has powerful consequences.

    • EFF Disappointed as CISA Passes Senate

      CISA passed the Senate today in a 74-21 vote. The bill is fundamentally flawed due to its broad immunity clauses, vague definitions, and aggressive spying authorities. The bill now moves to a conference committee despite its inability to address problems that caused recent highly publicized computer data breaches, like unencrypted files, poor computer architecture, un-updated servers, and employees (or contractors) clicking malware links.

      The conference committee between the House of Representatives and the Senate will determine the bill’s final language. But no amount of changes in conference could fix the fact that CISA doesn’t address the real cybersecurity problems that caused computer data breaches like Target and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

    • Oracle now keeps all EU data within EU borders to avoid Safe Harbour problems

      Oracle has revealed that it is now keeping all data regarding EU citizens within the European Union. This allows it to comply in a straightforward way with the ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that is likely to result in EU-US data transfers made using the Safe Harbour framework being deemed illegal.

      According to The Irish Times, Thomas Kurian, president of product development at Oracle, said at Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco: “All of our data centres in Europe have European operators. They have local production and, within the same European legislative region, disaster recovery. No data is sent across the geographical boundaries to any other legislative boundary.” As a result, Kurian added: “we are very comfortable with where we are with our cloud offerings and the new regulatory framework around data governance.”

    • Call 911 If You See This Huge-Ass Blimp on the Loose Today

      Here’s a metaphor: a remote-controlled, tremendously expensive, basically useless JLENS aerial surveillance blimp has detached from its tether at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. If you see it, call the authorities. Do NOT try to get it down yourself.

    • Open Source Center (OSC) Becomes Open Source Enterprise (OSE)

      The DNI Open Source Center has been redesignated the Open Source Enterprise and incorporated in CIA’s new Directorate of Digital Innovation.

      The Open Source Center, established in 2005, was tasked to collect and analyze open source information of intelligence value across all media – – print, broadcast and online. The OSC was the successor to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), which gathered and translated world news coverage and other open source information for half a century.

    • The IRS Has Stingrays … But We Knew Stingrays Have Been Used to Chase Tax Fraud

      Indeed, much of what we know about Stingrays comes from Rigmaiden’s years-long effort to demand details of how they used the Stingray to find him, and since he got released for time served, he has continued his efforts to uncover how they’ve been used.

      What’s interesting about the Guardian report, then, is that the IRS itself owned a Stingray, which they were updating in 2009 and 2012, even as the government was being exposed for improperly using Stingrays without a warrant to prosecute tax fraud. Reports on Rigmaiden had suggested an FBI Stingray was used to catch him — and that may well be the case — but we now learn that they owned one before 2009 (so early enough to capture him with, presumably).

      In Rigmaiden’s case, IRS was clearly partnering with FBI, so could have (and may have) used their Stingray. That would seem to be the case for all proper uses of the technology. So, among all the other things we should demand on Stingray use, one of them should be to limit their use to the FBI, which will increase the likelihood they’ll get properly noticed in any prosecution.

    • IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal

      The Internal Revenue Service is the latest in a growing list of US federal agencies known to have possessed the sophisticated cellphone dragnet equipment known as Stingray, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

      Invoices obtained following a request under the Freedom of Information Act show purchases made in 2009 and 2012 by the federal tax agency with Harris Corporation, one of a number of companies that manufacture the devices. Privacy advocates said the revelation “shows the wide proliferation of this very invasive surveillance technology”.

    • Surveillance law: France carefully listening to the world! (at last…)

      French Senate has approved last night the bill on international surveillance (fr), legalising mass surveillance beyond French borders, incidentally affecting numerous French people. La Quadrature Du Net salutes French consistency in terms of serious violations of Human Rights.

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Finds Unlikely Policy Allies At Police Gathering

      In highly anticipated remarks Tuesday, President Barack Obama took his push for gun control and criminal justice overhauls to a room full of the country’s top police brass — who enthusiastically backed his calls for comprehensive background checks, assault weapons bans, and reductions in the incarceration rate.

    • Senior Defense Dept. officials decry Guantánamo judge’s female guard ban

      Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, criticized the ban in response to a question from New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. Ayotte and two other GOP senators visited the prison Friday, and said they met with female guards upset by the restriction.

    • Is investor-state dispute settlement legal? A plea for EU judges to check

      Last month, the European Commission proposed reforms to the controversial investor-state dispute mechanism (ISDS), part of the EU-US trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). ISDS mechanisms, including the Commission’s ‘reformed’ ISDS proposal, let foreign investors sue the EU and Member State governments. These cases take place in front of specialised courts only open to foreign investors, where claims for compensation can run to billions of euros.

      ISDS has important implications for the daily lives of people in the EU. ISDS, for example, can be used by foreign investors to challenge the revocation of a fracking permit following protests and new environmental studies. This is a disconcerting development, especially because a US trade agreement containing ISDS would expose Europe to law suits from the country that uses ISDS the most.

    • Fox’s Mark Fuhrman Defends The Actions Of School Officer Who Dragged And Threw A Student Across The Floor
    • Defense lawyer to Guantánamo judge: Secret program may be depriving 9/11 defendant of sleep

      An attorney for the accused 9/11 plotter who has complained about strange overnight noises and vibrations in his prison cell for years told a military judge Sunday that the problem was back, and that it may be caused by a covert Pentagon program disclosed to the court just last week.

    • The Most Controversial Hacking Cases of the Past Decade

      The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the law that’s been at the heart of almost every controversial hacking case of the past decade, is in the news again this month.

      Prosecutors recently used the law to convict journalist Matthew Keys on felony hacking charges, drawing rounds of condemnation on the web. Edward Snowden, for one, derided the harsh penalty Keys now faces—a maximum possible sentence of 25 years.

      But charging Keys with felonies for his role in a crime that critics say should have been considered a misdemeanor—the minor defacement of a Los Angeles Times article—is not an anomaly for the feds. It’s just one among a growing list of contentious cases that critics say illustrate how prosecutors have been overstepping in their use of the CFAA.

    • Race and Discipline in Spotlight After South Carolina Officer Drags Student

      Videos of a white sheriff’s deputy throwing a black high school girl to the floor of a classroom thrust this community into an unsettling national discussion Tuesday about whether black students are disproportionately punished.

    • Obama Calls for Less Prison in Overhauling Sentencing Laws

      President Obama made his case on Tuesday for an overhaul of the nation’s sentencing laws, telling a gathering of top law enforcement officials here that putting large numbers of nonviolent drug offenders in prison was neither fair nor an effective way of combating crime.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • US government says it’s now okay to jailbreak your tablet and smart TV

      The US Library of Congress today issued a set of exemptions to an infamous provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), establishing a victory for consumers who like to tinker with devices without running afoul of copyright law. The exemptions were far-reaching, extending from movie and television files used in an educational context for criticism to installing third-party software — in other words jailbreaking — tablets and smart TVs.They will however only last for three years.

    • Free At Last: New DMCA Rules Might Make the Web a Better Place

      Another positive from the change is that smartphone users will be able to jailbreak their phone and finally enjoy running operating systems and applications from any source, not just those approved by the manufacturer.

    • Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses

      The new rules for exemptions to copyright’s DRM-circumvention laws were issued today, and the Librarian of Congress has granted much of what EFF asked for over the course of months of extensive briefs and hearings. The exemptions we requested—ripping DVDs and Blurays for making fair use remixes and analysis; preserving video games and running multiplayer servers after publishers have abandoned them; jailbreaking cell phones, tablets, and other portable computing devices to run third party software; and security research and modification and repairs on cars—have each been accepted, subject to some important caveats.


Links 27/10/2015: KDevelop 5.0.0 Beta 1, GParted 0.24

Posted in News Roundup at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Stream It!

    An entertained home is a happy home, with the digital dream a real one, most homes have turned into a digital entertainment heaven. My home’s daily routine often revolves around keeping the tiny humans entertained streaming music, video and photos from a home Linux server (plus online services) around the home to a variety of devices. From the traditional TV with a Raspberry Pi media centre to Android tablets and Chromebooks, or through the Pi-powered projector for cinema-style fun.

  • A happy home

    As software improves we like to take advantage of new features. For a while we’ve been putting up with the closed-source Plex, but finally Emby has appeared and we’re basing our new home media heaven on this fully open source solution. So from a base Ubuntu server, you’ll be able to dish out transcoded video, music and photos around your home with the option of recorded TV without the hassle of MythTV. It’s a slick solution and one I’m sure you’ll love when you read about it.

  • Linux / Open Source on Churches

    I talked to church heads about this and open about open source alternative software getting their responses that they are not aware that there are available free open source sofware that they can use as an alternative to commercial software.

  • Solu Mini-PC Taps Linux for Organic Cloud UI

    A Finnish startup called Solu Machines is closing in on its Kickstarter funding for a smartphone-like mini-PC with a Linux-based, cloud-oriented operating system and a novel UI stack. Funding packages start at $388 for the Solu, which would join a fairly short list of mini-PCs with pre-installed Linux, and an even smaller group of ARM-based Linux mini-PCs. Solu is much more singular than that, however, in that it’s a battery-powered touchscreen device that can also drive a 4K display. It is not only replacing standard PC and phone paradigms with a fully cloud-based platform, but is also reinventing the user interface.

  • Desktop

    • Google Adds New “Chell” Chromebook & New Coreboot Graphics Library

      Google engineers have landed a bunch of new code this morning into Coreboot.

      Perhaps most interesting out of today’s Coreboot commits by Google is the addition of a Chell mainboard. Chell is based on the “Glados” Chromebook but with some minor changes. This “Chell” codenamed device will use an Intel Skylake SoC. Details beyond that are scarce at the moment.

    • Google’s CPUFreq “Interactive” Governor Looks To Go Mainline
    • Linux in the Office

      I work in an office which utilities many different devices and operating system, yet I only know of two places we use linux, and that’s not including embedded.

      When I started my current role as a PHP Developer, I was given a laptop and the general accessories, but was given the choice of what OS I wanted to use. From a linux background I wanted linux, but as the other developers used windows I went with windows.

    • Xiaomi Linux Laptop To Enter Production Early Next Year

      Xiaomi’s long-rumoured Linux laptop will enter production in the first part of 2016, a new report claims.

      Industry watcher Digitimes’ sources also reveal that China’s Xiaomi plans to launch two notebooks: one sporting a 12.5-inch display and another with a 13.3-inch display.

  • Server

    • rkt v0.10.0: With a New API Service and a Better Image Build Tool

      rkt v0.10.0 is here and marks another important milestone on our path to creating the most secure and composable container runtime. This release includes an improved user interface and a preview of the rkt service API, making it even easier to experiment with rkt in your microservices architectures.

    • Companies That Support Linux: Rausch Netzwerktechnik

      Rausch Netzwerktechnik is a distributor of individual and standard server and storage systems for the data center. The company is also developing one of the first solutions around the Kinetic Open Storage Project. We talked to Rausch Netzwerktechnik CEO Sebastian Nölting to learn more about the company and their involvement with open source.

    • Tales from the SRE trenches: Dev vs Ops

      Traditionally, Devs get frustrated when they want to release, but Ops won’t accept it. Ops thinks there will be problems, but it is difficult to back this feeling with hard data. This fuels resentment and distrust, and management is never pleased. Using error budgets based on already established SLAs means there is nobody to get upset at: SRE does not need to play bad cop, and SWE is free to innovate as much as they want, as long as things don’t break.

    • rkt 0.10.0 released. Comes with new API service and improved image build tool
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5 Powers KaOS Productivity

        KaOS has a few known issues, but these mostly affect specific hardware configurations. For example, to use a GUID Partition Table, or GPT, on a BIOS system, make sure you set it up following a guide available on the KaOS website. The installer’s partitioner can only handle GPT correctly for the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.

      • Plasma 5 will be the default desktop environment in Chakra

        We are excited to announce that in a couple of days Chakra will be switching to Plasma 5 developed by KDE for the default desktop environment. The restructuring of the repositories is almost done, we just need to test it for a while before making it available to everyone.

      • KDevelop 5.0.0 Beta 1 available!

        Hello all,

        I’m very glad to finally announce the first beta of KDevelop 5.0.0, based on Qt 5, KF 5 and Clang: https://www.kdevelop.org/news/first-beta-release-kdevelop-500-available

        Like I’ve said previously, I’m very thankful of the tons of contributors that made this step possible. From the early testers, over the many new KDevelop contributors who helped a lot in porting our code base to Qt 5 and KF5, to the people that worked on improving kdev-clang and all the other areas. It’s a great feeling to finally release this beast. A year ago, just after we started in this process, I still wasn’t too sure we can pull it all off. Now, look where we are Smile “Just” a few more weeks of polishing and I’m positively sure KDevelop 5.0.0 will be a really good milestone.

        That said, I also want to express my thanks towards the KDE e.V. which graciously sponsored our recent KDevelop/Kate sprint in Berlin. We rented a flat for the 8 hackers that visited Berlin and had a productive five days directly after the Qt World Summit. Personally, I worked on kdev-clang and polished it a bit more in the preparation of the first beta release. One handy feature I added is the display of size information about classes and member variables, displayed in the image to the right.

        If you want to give back to the KDevelop community, please consider a donation to the KDE e.v., which is used for our yearly developer sprints and the Akademy conference.

      • KDE Pulled In Around $162k USD Last Year

        KDE e.V. yesterday released their last quarterly report to end out 2014, which offer a look at their finances for the past year. I’ve also taken the liberty to do a cursory comparison against the GNOME Foundation’s finances for 2014.

      • KDevelop 5.0 Enters Beta With Qt5/KF5 Port

        The first beta of KDevelop 5.0 is now available. This huge update comes after more than a year of hard work and its code-base has been ported over to using Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5.

        Besides the big step-up in using Qt5 and KF5, KDevelop has replaced its legacy C++ parser and semantic analysis plug-in with a more powerful one derived from LLVM’s Clang compiler and its extensive code analysis tools.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GParted 0.24 Adds ZFS & NVMe Detection

        For those using GParted as GUI-driven Linux disk partitioning, the GParted 0.24 release is now available with new features.

      • GUADEC 2016 to take place in Karlsruhe, Germany

        It is with pleasure that the GNOME Foundation is announcing that Karlsruhe, Germany, will host GUADEC in the summer of 2016.

      • Some ideas about this year’s Google Summer of Code

        After the GSoC, I’ve done some work related to the open source community in China. We have a organization called kaiyuanshe and they did some work to help promote open source. Last weekend they organized the Apache Roadshow in Beijing and I was one of the volunteers. Also, I gave a speech about my experience in GSoC on the conference. Although it’s not the GNOME community, but I think sometimes we should contribute to the open source world as a whole without caring which one it is. Hope our effort would enlarge the open source force in China.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Given $83.375 Consensus PT
      • Citrix Forms OpenStack Partnership with Red Hat
      • Fedora

        • Getting Started with Fedora – Update

          Some time ago, I announced the ‘Getting Started with Fedora’ handbook which we had published in Czech. I also announced the plan to translate it to English, so that it can be translated to other languages. I asked around who could help me with that, especially to figure out the whole system how to get a translated print PDF from a document written in English. A couple of native speakers offered that they would help with proof reading, thank them for that, but first we need to figure out the whole system.

        • Looking for a Community Lead for Project Atomic

          One of the most exciting projects I’m getting to work with these days is Project Atomic. It touches on the full stack–from OS development to storage, to networking, containers, application development, and pretty much everything in between. Red Hat is working hard on the tools to develop, deploy, and manage containerized applications.

        • Fedora 20 Through Fedora 23 Benchmarks

          For your viewing pleasure today are some fresh benchmarks comparing the out-of-the-box performance of Fedora 20, Fedora 21, Fedora 22, and Fedora 23 RC3 out-of-the-box on an Intel Xeon system with AMD R600g graphics. Here’s a look at the Fedora Linux performance and that of the upstream Linux kernel / Mesa / GCC over the past two years.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Is SteamOS Any Faster Than Ubuntu 15.10 Linux?

          Over the past few days have been a number of SteamOS Linux gaming benchmarks, namely published so far are the 22-Way Comparison Of NVIDIA & AMD Graphics Cards On SteamOS For Steam Linux Gaming and 4K AMD/NVIDIA High-End GPU Comparison On SteamOS Linux. When seeing all of those SteamOS results, you may have started wondering: is SteamOS any faster/slower than say Ubuntu Linux? In this article are some benchmarks comparing SteamOS to Ubuntu 15.10.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Development Has Started

            The Ubuntu developers have already started to work on the 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and the first packages are beginning to land. It’s a long way to go until the stable launch in April 2016, but this is how it starts.

          • Ubuntu Touch with a Mouse Cursor Is Interesting and Cool at the Same Time

            One of the latest updates for Ubuntu Touch has brought a most coveted feature that was still missing, the mouse cursor. This will most likely land with OTA-8, which is scheduled to arrive in about five weeks.

          • Meet the Ubuntu family

            There are 9 members of the ‘Ubuntu family’ that are recognized as official flavors (i.e., Linux distributions that use the same operating system base but feature different desktop environments).

          • Linux Based Ubuntu Phones: Aquaris E4.5 and E5 Now In Market

            Ubuntu, Linux operating system is now built to provide the Linux server to desktops, phones, tablets and TV operating systems. Demand of Ubuntu phones in India is already increase by Linux system fans.

            The new phones released last month, which based on Linux operating system. And now in India Aquaris E4.5 and Aquaris E5 are available to purchase. Costumer can buy it from online website like Snapdeal.

          • Unity 8 Features Available Now For Ubuntu Touch OS

            The Ubuntu Touch OTA-8 software update, slated for a November 18 release date, is only a few weeks away and Cononical’s Lukasz Zemczak promised it would bring with it lots of new features and changes especially when it comes to Unity 8.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Resolving Tension

              A post on the Fridge today claims “both councils collaborated and resolved any tensions together”. The Ubuntu Community Council bullied me for asking questions that made Canonical feel uncomfortable and this is the only response to that. That bullying someone until they leave a project is the UCC way of resolving tensions leaves me speachless. That nobody else has commented in the Ubuntu project in public (I’ve had people in private tell me they’re wanting to leave Ubuntu and/or Canonical) confirms to me the project has a culture of fear.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Hardware

    • Console wars: Predicting this holiday season’s gaming winner

      Earlier this month, Sony announced that it was dropping the price of its PlayStation 4 game console by $50 to $349.99. The move put the PlayStation 4’s price in line with Microsoft’s Xbox One. The decision made clear what the price cut was desired to do: get gamers who have not yet moved to the company’s latest console to take the plunge this holiday season.

  • Security

    • The Zone 9 Bloggers are Free: but Ethiopia Still Thinks Digital Security is Terrorism

      The last of the Zone 9 Bloggers are finally free from jail, after nearly 18 months of detention for simply speaking out online. All the bloggers were acquitted of terrorism charges by the Ethiopian courts; one blogger, Befeqadu Hailu was found guilty of a single charge of “inciting violence” as a result of a confession made during his detention. He was released on bail last Wednesday. Given the time he has already served, he is unlikely to return to jail.

    • TrueCrypt Travails Continue

      The credibility of the TrueCrypt encryption application is in tatters following the discovery of two serious flaws in the code.

      Its anonymous developers abandoned the open source TrueCrypt project in May 2014, and since then no updates to the code have been released. At the time the developers advised users to switch to an alternative encryption program such as Microsoft’s BitLocker. Although TrueCrypt is still available for download, the developers suggest it should only be used to migrate data off TrueCrypt encrypted drives.

    • W3C Sets Up Web Payments Standards Group to Improve Check-Out Security

      W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), the regulatory body that oversees the creation of Web standards, has announced plans to set up a special group tasked with the responsibility of putting together a standardized API that will simplify the payment and check-out process, but also improve its overall security.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NYT Claims Clinton ‘Emerging as Unrivaled Leader’ in Democratic Race

      Hmm. The “unrivaled leader” leads her closest rival, Bernie Sanders, by 7 percentage points in an average of recent polls in the first caucus state, Iowa. In the first primary state, New Hampshire, she trails Sanders by 2 points; it’s been two months since she had a clear lead over him there. (In an accompanying graphic, the Times ranks Clinton as No. 1 in New Hampshire polls—based on a different polling average that has her ahead by 0.2 percentage points.)

    • WSJ Misleadingly Hypes Obamacare Enrollment Numbers To Push GOP Health Care Plans

      The Wall Street Journal editorial board used sharply revised government estimates on the number of Americans expected to purchase health insurance through federal marketplaces to claim that Obamacare is failing and hype so-called Republican “alternatives” to the landmark health care reform legislation. The Journal’s fearmongering about the long-term viability of Obamacare failed to acknowledge that while enrollment via federal marketplaces is less than expected, millions of Americans are still gaining access to affordable health insurance coverage.

  • Censorship

    • Verizon’s Twisted Plan to Censor Your Internet

      Earlier this year, the Newseum Institute asked 1,000 Americans to name their rights under the First Amendment. A clear majority listed freedom of speech first — before freedom of religion, assembly, and other core civil liberties.

      And that makes sense. Protecting free speech is essential to the health of any functioning democracy.

      Free speech matters to the hundreds of millions of Internet users who exercise this right every time they connect with others online. But if you ask some of the lawyers working for the companies that sell you Internet access, they’ll insist that it’s more important to protect the free speech rights of phone and cable giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

    • Twitter hints at unblocking Politwoops accounts

      Politwoops, the site that saved and republished tweets first published and later deleted by politicians, may get back its access to the Twitter API. After disabling Politwoops’ developer accounts this summer, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week hinted that the company might restore access to the Twitter streams.

    • Anti-Israel Activism Criminalized in the Land of Charlie Hebdo and “Free Speech“

      The post-Charlie Hebdo “free speech” march in Paris was a fraud for multiple reasons, as I wrote at the time. It was led by dozens of world leaders, many of whom imprison or even kill people for expressing prohibited views. It was cheered by many Westerners who feign upset only when free speech abridgments are perpetrated by Muslims, but not — as is far more common — by their own governments against Muslims.

  • Privacy

    • Microsoft Helping to Store Police Video From Taser Body Cameras

      Microsoft has joined forces with Taser to combine the Azure cloud platform with law enforcement management tools.


      In order to ensure Taser maintains a monopoly on police body cameras, the corporation acquired contracts with police departments all across the nation for the purchase of body cameras through dubious ties to certain chiefs of police.

  • Civil Rights

    • Garters in a Twist

      The British constitution is appallingly undemocratic. The fact that an undemocratic chamber has fended off a proposal from an undemocratic executive which gained the votes of only 34% of the voting electors, is not a blow struck for democracy. It is however a temporary victory for human decency in mitigating an attack on the poor.

    • “She Had No Respect”: CNN Analyst Blames Student Who Was Thrown To The Ground By The Police For The Officer’s Actions
    • Black Lives Matter movement

      This week’s program addresses the Black Lives Matter movement, and other efforts to challenge police brutality. Devonte Jackson, organizer with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) speaks about uniting Black communities against abuses by police and other agencies of government. Attorney Izaak Schwaiger summarizes a pending civil rights lawsuit on behalf of inmates at the Sonoma County, CA jail, who were subjected to a systematic beating by guards. Philosophy Professor Glen Martin of Radford University shares his ideas on how to build a world without police violence. And there’s a live call-in from police-brutality protestors in New York.

    • Obama officials at odds over Saudi airstrikes

      Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in Yemen, conducted with U.S. assistance,
      are alleged to have killed at least 1,500 civilians, dividing members of the Obama administration over whether the U.S. risks being accused of abetting war crimes in a bombing campaign that could ultimately strengthen Islamist militants.

      Sources inside the administration say they are struggling to keep in check
      the opposing sides in Yemen, one of the clearest examples of the intensifying Saudi-Iran proxy war in the Middle East. But even as reports of civilian suffering and terrorist gains pile up, U.S. officials believe that reducing American support for the Saudis could make the situation even worse.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Tim Berners-Lee in plea to MEPs to protect net neutrality in Europe

      FATHER OF the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee has issued a stark warning to the European Union ahead of a crucial vote on net neutrality due to take place tomorrow.

      After the historic win for net neutrality supporters in the US earlier this year, tomorrow will see MEPs looking at plans for internet fast lanes in the UK and mainland Europe.

      Berners-Lee said in a blog post on the World Wide Web Foundation website: “When I designed the World Wide Web, I built it as an open platform to foster collaboration and innovation. The web evolved into a powerful and ubiquitous platform because I was able to build it on an open network that treated all packets of information equally. This principle of net neutrality has kept the internet a free and open space since its inception.”

    • Why Europe’s net neutrality plan is more controversial than US rules

      The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on net neutrality rules on Tuesday, and at first glance the proposed regulations appear very similar to ones already in place in the United States.

      Both the European proposal and the US rules prevent Internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, and they impose a ban on “paid prioritization.”

    • Game over for real net neutrality? European Parliament votes in favor of disappointingly weak rules

      Today, members of the European Parliament voted on a proposal (PDF) for rules affecting how Internet traffic is managed, following the European Commission’s release of a draft agreement for regulation back in June. And Europe’s lawmakers have decided Europe doesn’t need a truly open, free Internet.

    • Net neutrality: EU votes in favour of Internet fast lanes and slow lanes

      The European Parliament has passed the flawed compromise text on net neutrality without including any of the amendments that would have closed serious loopholes. The vote, with 500 in favour, and 163 against, took place in a plenary session a few hours after a rather lacklustre debate this morning, which was attended by only 50 MEPs out of the European Parliament’s total of 751, indicating little interest in this key topic among most European politicians. The Greens MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht called the final result a “dirty deal.”

    • European Parliament delivers neither Net Neutrality nor an End to Roaming

      “Today’s vote on the Telecoms Single Market package in the European Parliament constitutes a broken promise both on the end of roaming surcharges and the establishment of net neutrality”, says Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party and shadow rapporteur for the Greens/EFA group in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

      “The European Parliament’s first reading position in April 2014 proposed far-reaching provisions for the introduction of net neutrality in Europe. In the end, not even the words ‘net neutrality’ survived the closed-door negotiations with the Commission and the Council. The text leaves open critical loopholes. Today, the Parliament decided not to adopt opposition amendments that could have fixed these shortcomings.

    • The European Union’s New Net Neutrality ‘Protections’ Are A Joke

      After months of negotiations (read: ISP lawyer and lobbyist rewrites), the European Union has voted to approve new net neutrality rules (pdf) that for many nation states may be worse than having no net neutrality protections at all. As we’ve noted, the rules ignore zero rating, carve out massive loopholes for “specialized services,” “class-based discrimination,” and even include provisions allowing ISP throttling and discrimination provided it’s addressing phantom congestion that hasn’t even happened yet. In short, these rules effectively protect ISPs looking to creatively violate net neutrality, not European consumers.

      European Parliament members completely ignored last-minute suggested amendments that would have closed these loopholes. They also completely ignored opposition to the rules by the likes of BitTorrent, EyeEm, Foursquare, Kickstarter, WordPress, Netflix, Reddit, Transferwise, Vimeo, the EFF and Tim Berners-Lee (who penned a lengthy blog post outlining his opposition to the rules). Similarly, only 50 MEPs out of the European Parliament’s total of 751 could be bothered to even attend a superficial “debate” preceding the approval vote.

    • European Parliament rejects amendments protecting net neutrality

      The EU has rejected legal amendments that would firmly protect the concept of net neutrality in Europe. The European Parliament voted in favor of new regulations which proponents say establish an internet “without discrimination,” but advocates for net neutrality say the laws contain a number of loopholes which could lead to the creation of a tiered internet service. The legislation also includes an end to roaming charges in Europe, although some critics say those laws are also less robust than they appear.

    • Net Neutrality: Major Setback for Free and Open Internet

      Today, the European Parliament voted the Telecommunication Single Market regulation text by 500 votes against 163, hereby ending the negotiations on this matter. Despite numerous citizen’s calls, despite repeated international calls to support the amendments, including Tim Berners-Lee’s, this ambiguous text leaves important loopholes and cannot ensure Net Neutrality1. Worst, it allows commercial discrimination. It is a profound disillusion for all those who, throughout the years, battled to ensure Net Neutrality in Europe.

    • EU Parliament adopts highly ambiguous Net Neutrality legislation

      The European Parliament has voted to adopt the Telecoms Single Market (TSM) regulation. The regulation was supposed to guarantee net neutrality in Europe.

      Unfortunately, MEPs have created large loopholes and left ambiguity in much of the legislation. Net neutrality is the principle whereby Internet access providers treat internet traffic equally. Because of the vagueness of the new regulations, telecoms regulators in EU Member States will now have to decide whether telecoms companies in their country will be able to prioritise different categories of data.

    • The EU Tried to End Roaming Fees and Ended Net Neutrality Instead

      The internet is a global network. That means if one part of the world decides to start pulling the wrong levers, we could be dealing with the consequences. And the European parliament just pulled a very big lever by voting down amendments to net neutrality rules that include dangerous loopholes.

    • EU Parliament rejects amendments protecting net neutrality

      European Parliament has voted for a package of EU internet traffic regulations, rejecting all amendments on net neutrality. The move was slammed by activists and companies alike, who say it will allow some to have faster internet access than others.

  • DRM

    • Siri Reserves Some Answers for Apple Music Subscribers Only

      Siri, the digital assistant found on Apple’s iOS devices, has become a familiar presence for many, and a prompt (sometimes even mischievous) answer to questions you ask it has always been forthcoming. But it seems Siri is now holding back some answers, only providing certain information to those users who pay for Apple Music.

Links 27/10/2015: Tanglu 4.0, Simplicity Linux 15.10

Posted in News Roundup at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A Miracle Comes to Linux

    Morgan’s parents will not allow any personal identification to go forth in the legal or scientific community until Morgan is considered an adult. At that time, he can allow various communities and professionals to make his case public, or not. Morgan is strict about allowing access to him. Bianca and Morgan remain close friends to this day. And no…I did not have to help David at all with the use of his new Linux computer. His brother will be looking into becoming a kernel maintainer as soon as he finishes “looking the whole Linux thing over.”

  • Desktop

    • I’m an artist who loves Linux

      One day I got a new fancy machine and booted CentOS on it. Then, instead of going for commercial software, I started using open source applications to make art. I started using Blender for all my 3D animation work, and GIMP and Krita for my painting needs. Recently I’ve started using MyPaint and love it. In short, once I found out about all the open source alternatives to the commercial applications, I never looked back.

    • Xiamoi’s Linux laptop will be available in early 2016

      Good news for anyone looking to avoid the Microsoft tax: Chinese electronics behemoth Xiaomi is reportedly planning to launch an affordable Linux laptop in early 2016.

      Xiaomi has made supply chain orders for 750,000 laptops, according to industry site Digitimes is reporting. It would be the first laptop made by the Xiaomi, and could give desktop Linux a mainstream user base across the planet.

    • The seduction of the new

      I don’t know about the Windows or Mac users’ reactions, but the Linux user’s always makes me smile as I recognize an attitude I see regularly and to some extent share. Free software users are always ready to upgrade, although their obsession is only partly rational.

    • On Being Ripped Off

      Given I had paid a lot of money for the Kaspersky Crystal Pure protection quite recently (and I think it was on an automatic renewal) I feel pretty ripped off. Am I being reasonable, or is it my fault for changing the operating system?

  • Server

    • SGI Introduces the New UV 300RL With Oracle Linux

      SGI (NASDAQ: SGI), a global leader in high-performance solutions for compute, data analytics, and data management and Gold level member in Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), today introduced the SGI UV 300RL. A new model in the SGI UV server line certified and supported with Oracle Linux, SGI UV 300RL provides up to 32 sockets and 24 terabytes (TBs) of shared memory. The solution enables enterprises that have standardized on Intel-based servers to run Oracle Database In-Memory on a single system to help achieve real-time operations and accelerate data analytics at unprecedented scale.

    • Cambridge Technology Enterprises Nominated for Oracle Linux and Virtualization Partner Award at Oracle OpenWorld 2015

      Cambridge Technology Enterprises Ltd has been nominated for the first Annual Oracle Linux and Virtualization Partner Award at Oracle OpenWorld 2015. The award ceremony will take place at Oracle OpenWorld on October 26, 2015 and will recognize CTE’s work with Oracle Linux and Virtualization.

    • Oracle OpenWorld 2015: Ellison Disses IBM, SAP as ‘Nowhere in the Cloud’

      Oracle CTO Larry Ellison kicked off Oracle OpenWorld 2015 in true Ellison style—with both guns blazing, pointing squarely at Oracle’s biggest competitors in the cloud space.

      “Our two biggest competitors in last two decades have been IBM and SAP and we no longer pay any attention to either one,” Ellison said during his keynote event Oct. 25. “It’s quite a shock. SAP is nowhere in cloud, and only Oracle and Microsoft is in every level of the cloud—applications, platform and infrastructure.”

  • Shows

    • Inside SparkFun’s Fellowship of the Things video series

      The Fellowship of the Things video series was conceived out of our passion for the burgeoning world of Internet of Things and connected projects, and our desire to showcase some of the SparkFun tools and products that fit particularly well into them. We somehow got permission to build an Internet of Things-dedicated apartment inside SparkFun HQ to use as a demo area for the projects, and so far it’s been a huge success!

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Scholarship Recipient: Anthony Hooper

      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 totaling more than $100,000 in free training to students and professionals who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities. In this continuing series, we share the stories of recent scholarship recipients with the hope of inspiring others.

      Whiz Kid scholarship recipient Anthony Hooper (age 23, from Jamaica) has been interested in technology since junior high. He says learning more about Linux is important to his future so he will be able to do what he deems is meaningful work. What Anthony loves most about Linux is the “sheer magnitude of collaborative work poured into the kernel over the years by individuals all over the world and companies who are even rivals themselves.” He says that being able to learn about the system and make a contribution to it, even a small one, would be nothing short of amazing.

    • Linux Kernel 4.2.5 Has Been Released with Many AMD GPU Improvements

      After only four days from the release of Linux kernel 4.2.4, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced on the last hours of October 26, 2015, the immediate availability for download of the fifth maintenance release of Linux kernel 4.2.

    • Linux 4.1.12
    • Linux 3.14.56
    • Linux 3.10.92
    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.18 RC2 “Amontillado” Released
      • NVIDIA GPU Offloading Support For GCC Is Still Up & Coming

        It’s been nearly two years that there’s been work going on for OpenACC 2.0 with GPU offloading for GCC, primarily geared for NVIDIA GPUs. That work continues taking shape and hopefully for GCC 6 the support will be in better standing.

      • Is Upgrading To Mesa 11.1-devel Worthwhile For Radeon R600g Users?

        With last week’s release of Ubuntu 15.10, Mesa 11.0 is part of the open-source graphics stack. Unfortunate for those with an AMD GCN GPU that uses the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver, Mesa 11.0 on Ubuntu 15.10 is built against an older version of LLVM that doesn’t allow the OpenGL 4.1 support to be exposed. For RadeonSI users, I’d say switching to Mesa 11.1-devel + LLVM 3.8 SVN is almost a must once installing Ubuntu 15.10, but is it worthwhile for R600g users?

    • Benchmarks

      • 4K AMD/NVIDIA High-End GPU Comparison On SteamOS Linux

        Continuing on from Friday’s article that was a 22-way comparison of AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards on SteamOS for Steam Linux gaming, which tested the hardware at the common TV resolution of 1080p, here are results for the higher-end Radeon and GeForce graphics cards at 4K.

        This article is structured quite similarly to Friday’s article but rather than testing at 1080p, the Steam Linux game tests were at 4K (3840 x 2160). Due to the increased resolution, not all twenty-two graphics cards were used for this article but only the higher-end AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Cinnamon 2.8 and MATE 1.12 to Arrive In a Few Days, Says Clement Lefebvre

      Clement Lefebvre, the leader and maintainer of the popular Linux Mint operating system, as well as the Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments, sent his monthly report about the work done by the entire team.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • First Beta release of KDevelop 5.0.0 available

        We spent a lot of effort on keeping the porting bugs to a minimum, and our thanks go out to the many testers who have guided us in the process. Porting to KF5 and Qt 5 also cut down our dependencies, bringing us closer to a proper KDevelop on Windows and KDevelop on Mac OS X. If you want to see KDevelop 5 become a reality on these platforms, then please get in touch with us and help us iron out the last issues.

      • KDE e.V. Quarterly Report – 2014Q4

        The KDE e.V. report for the fourth quarter of 2014 is available (PDF). It features a compendium of all the activities and events carried out, supported and funded by KDE e.V. in that period, as well as the reporting of major events, conferences and mentoring programs that KDE has been involved in.

      • Add an “Archive” button in KMail

        I love the “archive” button in Thunderbird (which was adopted from GMail, I think…) and (so far) am enjoying KMail. However, I was missing the “read it, don’t need to do anything further with this email – so put it in my 2015 folder.”

      • Interview with Laura

        My name is Laura, and I currently live in Calgary, Alberta. Aside from 2D art, I model/sculpt with Blender, Maya, and ZBrush. I enjoy running and board sports, and I love science and cats!

      • My Wishion for KDE – Part 1 – Now

        KDE is mostly about people. We are a huge project with an almost 20 years old history. We’ve great infrastructure and values (Manifesto) and our software is targeted towards end-users and normal people. But do we really succeed and achieve what we want? Are there problems and what are they?

      • KDevelop 5.0 Open Source IDE Enters Beta, Ported to Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5

        After more than a year of hard work, Milian Wolff from the KDevelop project has had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Beta build of KDevelop 5.0.0.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GeoJSON in Maps

        For Maps 3.19.1 release we managed to land some support for showing a GeoJSON layer. This means that you can get a GeoJSON file from somewhere then open it with Maps.

  • Distributions

    • Learning Linux – Lesson Three: GNU/Linux Distributions

      While in the first lesson of our Learning Linux series you learned the basics of Linux and the difference between a GNU/Linux operating system and the Linux kernel, in the second one you found out how GNU/Linux OS works.

    • Happy Distrovus: 3 big Linux Distros released in 8 days

      Five days! We have just five tiny little days to fully feast upon Ubuntu 15.10 before we need to make room in our lives to take Fedora 23 for a full spin. Which, based on my testing of an earlier beta build, tells me that this is going to be a release worth paying some attention to.

      But those five days seem like an eternity compared to the mere THREE DAYS between the release of Fedora 23 and the Gold Master version of openSUSE Leap 42.1 on October 30th. Another gigantic release that is worthy of our attention.

    • Happy Distrovus, Kissing Kubuntu Kousins

      Today in Linux news, Brian Lunduke declared a new holiday to celebrate the autumn distribution release season. UnixMan Chris Jones reviewed Fedora 23 already, due for release November 3, and Jesse Smith reported on GhostBSD 10.1 in today’s Distrowatch Weekly. Bruce Byfield is still grumbling about his failed Debian upgrade and Canonical issued a statement today on their relationship with Kubuntu.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Singapore’s First Liberal Arts College Taps Red Hat and Dell for OpenStack-based Software-defined Datacenter

        Yale-NUS College was established in 2011 as a collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore (NUS) to provide a new model for liberal arts colleges in Asia.

      • Dualtec Cloud Builders Selects Red Hat to Deploy Brazil’s First OpenStack-based Cloud
      • SF Hosts AnsibleFest Nov. 19

        First, Red Hat acquires Ansible two weeks ago, which is both no small feat and a coup for the folks in Raleigh. The acquisition was a smart, yet expected, move: It marries Ansible’s ease of automation to the wide portfolio of Red Hat clientele, driving down the cost and complexity of deploying and managing both cloud-native and traditional applications across hybrid cloud environments. In short, by writing a check, Red Hat expanded its leadership in hybrid cloud management.

      • Open source software’s implications beyond software

        Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, was sporting his awesome red shoes as he spoke to a crowded room at All Things Open last week. During his keynote on Day 1, he talked about how open source is a key part of the open organization, but what we’re all looking to achieve has implications far beyond software.

        Jim began his keynote by explaining why there is a need for the principles of open source in business. If we think of the world we come from and the world we are coming into we see that there is a long line of change. We have come from a world of mass manufacturing, where relatively uneducated people were typically doing rote tasks on assembly lines in a static environment where there was little sharing of information. Society has based a lot of our structure of managing businesses on this model, but if we think about how we live and work today things are much different.

      • Insider Selling: Red Hat CEO Sells $303,592.50 in Stock (RHT)

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) CEO James M. Whitehurst sold 3,930 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.25, for a total value of $303,592.50. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 372,478 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $28,773,925.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link.

      • FICO Chooses Red Hat to Deploy OpenStack, Management, and Storage Solutions for Agile Cloud Infrastructure

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that FICO, the predictive analytics and decision management software company, has deployed Red Hat software, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, Red Hat CloudForms, and Red Hat Ceph Storage, as the basis of its cloud infrastructure. Moving to an OpenStack and Ceph-based cloud has not only helped FICO reduce time to market by 50 percent and lower costs by 30 percent compared to previous infrastructure implementations, but it has helped transform FICO into a Software-as-Service (SaaS) company, driving added sales to new and existing customers in expanded markets.

      • Fedora

        • Mark command usecase

          In the early days of DNF development, the original members of the team decided that the cool feature called clean_requirements_on_remove should have been enabled by default . This is exactly that feature of DNF which prevents your system from overblooting by installed, but no longer needed dependencies of packages.

        • Year of the Linux Desktop: Flock 2015 Summary

          Flock to Fedora 2015 was a conference full of incredible people with incredible ideas, and it was a tough decision to decide which sessions to attend of all the good options. One that caught my eye was the “When is the year of the Linux desktop?” talk by Red Hat software engineering intern Levente Kurusa. Some of the key talking points of his session were evaluating why this statement always seems to be “next year” and why this awesome idea never seems to gain much ground. Are we doing something wrong? Can we improve somewhere? All of this, and more, Levente aimed to cover in his talk. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance of this talk!

        • Fedora – A peek into IRC meetings using meetbot data

          fedmsg has a few meetbot-related topics corresponding to meetbot commands using which I gather daily,weekly and monthly IRC meeting data. You can construct queries for a time period by specifying by the start and end parameters for the query.Use count variable from JSON data dump to get total number of messages pertaining to our query. (Check out the meetbot-related fedmsg topics here and documentation for constructing queries for Datagrepper here ). You can also use Datagrepper Charts API for some basic visualizations. (Check it out here).

        • Getting started with Fedora

          In this post I would like to tell you about the process of creation of a book cover. Some time ago Jiří Eischmann had an idea of creating a user guide for potential new Fedora users.

        • DNF 1.1.3 and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE 0.1.13 Released

          New release of DNF stack (dnf, dnf-plugins-core, dnf-plugins-extras, hawkey and libsolv) is going to Fedora 21, 22, 23 and rawhide. Most of the fixes happened under the hood in DNF libraries. The emphasis was on stability and making smooth system upgrades. For more information take a look at release notes.

        • Globalization test days report for Fedora 23

          Each Fedora release, developers add interesting features and changes. The Fedora QA group puts in extra effort to make sure these features work well. The Fedora QA group runs test days, together with our development teams. Test days usually happen between Alpha and Beta test releases. These events are essential to help us find critical flaws.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Installer Stretch Alpha 4 Drops The CD Sets

        The Debian Installer Stretch Alpha 4 release has various hardware support improvements, accessibility support by default is now enabled for GTK2 applications and improved for Qt4/Qt5 applications, and various other changes took place.

      • Debian 9 “Stretch” Installer Alpha 4 Drops Support for CDs, Adds Improvements

        The Debian Project, through Cyril Brulebois, announced the release and immediate availability for download and testing of the fourth Alpha build of the Debian GNU/Linux 9.0 “Stretch” installer.

      • Derivatives

        • SteamOS Switches To Linux 4.1, Latest Graphics Drivers

          SteamOS Brewmaster now has the Linux 4.1 kernel, which is a big upgrade over their earlier Linux 3.18 kernel. SteamOS Brewmaster also switches to using the Catalyst 15.9 proprietary graphics driver and has upgraded the NVIDIA binary blob too.

        • Major SteamOS Update Brings Linux Kernel 4.1, Updates Nvidia and AMD Drivers

          Valve announced a few minutes ago that the Brewmaster branch of their Debian-based SteamOS Linux operating system received a major update, version 2.49, that was pushed to the Beta channel.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Avengers Is an Excellent Resource for Users Who Want to Report Ubuntu Touch Bugs

            If you’re one of the thousands of Ubuntu Phone users, and you have encountered a bug that needs reporting, you might want to check out this excellent Wiki page that directs users to the proper channels for most of the components of the operating system.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 offers new UI and enhanced developer tools

            Ubuntu 15.10 has been revealed, with a new UI and re-fashioned developer tools, including the ability to preview apps with a converged phone, desktop and tablet experience.

            For Ubuntu Phone users, the update will be automatically rolled out, apparently demonstrating the platform’s “famous flow of updates to this new ecosystem.”

          • Ubuntu MATE Tools Could Bring Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and Ubuntu Server to Raspberry Pi 2

            Ubuntu MATE developers have been working on some tools that allowed them to build the distribution for the Raspberry Pi 2 platform, and they are looking to share those tools and to name them so that other projects can use them, like Xubuntu or Lubuntu.

          • Mycroft AI on Ubuntu’s Unity 8 Hits a Bump in the Road the Size of Python 3

            The Mycroft AI home automation solution that managed to gather enough funds on Kickstarter just a few months ago also promised an Ubuntu implementation of its Mycroft AI. It looks like those plans have hit a bump in the road for Unity 8.

          • Canonical Promises Easy, Secure Containerized Apps for Ubuntu with LXD

            Turn on, tune in, drop out—without Docker! That—or, uh, something like it—is the container management experience Canonical hopes to deliver by bundling LXD, the open source containerized app framework, into the latest version of Ubuntu Linux, 15.10, which was released a few days ago.

          • Kubuntu and Ubuntu Councils Issue Joint Statement

            A joint statement from the Kubuntu Council and the Ubuntu Council has been published today in an attempt to alleviate the questions raised after the departure of the Kubuntu release manager, Jonathan Riddell.

          • The Ubuntu-Powered Erle-Spider Drone Now Available for Sale

            The Erle-Spider drone that’s powered by Ubuntu and based on ROS, the Robot Operating System, is now available for purchase, outside of the previous crowdfunding campaign.

          • Superb Ubuntu MATE Gold Edition Proposed by User – Video

            An Ubuntu MATE user put together a “Gold Edition” of the distribution and made some propositions for the leader of the project, Martin Wimpress. As it turns out, he’s going to make some of those things happen.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 offers new UI and enhanced developer tools

            Ubuntu 15.10 has been revealed, with a new UI and re-fashioned developer tools, including the ability to preview apps with a converged phone, desktop and tablet experience.

            For Ubuntu Phone users, the update will be automatically rolled out, apparently demonstrating the platform’s “famous flow of updates to this new ecosystem.”

          • Is Ubuntu 15.10 a Fearless Werewolf or a Boring One?

            I believe that every Linux and Ubuntu user out there knows that Ubuntu 15.10 (codename Wily Werewolf) has been released, and it aims to become a better replacement for the previous version, Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet).

          • Unleashing the Werewolf

            Upgrading from Vivid to the latest version using the Update Manager was smooth and painless and took about two hours. The time required may vary depending on the speed of your Internet connection. When my PC rebooted after the upgrade, the only hint that I was using a new operating system was a watermark at the bottom of the startup screen. Then, I was taken back to the comfortable familiarity of my customized XFCE desktop so that I could resume where I had left off.

          • Here are the 9 New Ubuntu 15.10 Features You Should Know

            The stable edition of Ubuntu 15.10 wily werewolf is just released by canonical few days a ago and it now available to download and install on your computer. Lets take a look at the features that are implemented in the new release of ubuntu 15.10 and see what important packages have been updated.

          • System76 Users Can Now Upgrade to Ubuntu 15.10, Here’s How

            System76, the American hardware company behind those Ubuntu-powered laptops and desktop computers, announced earlier today, October 26, that all of their users can now upgrade to the recently released Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) operating system.

          • Ubuntu Linux Demonstrates New Cloud Application Store

            Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth announced new cloud application store capabilities at the OpenStack Tokyo Summit.

            TOKYO—In the OpenStack world, no operating system is more widely deployed than Ubuntu Linux. It’s a fact that Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, emphasized during a presentation at the OpenStack Summit here, while detailing new features that he hopes will further extend his lead.

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 Receives Basic Support for Store Channels, More

            On October 26, Canonical’s Michael Vogt was happy to announce the release and immediate availability for download of the ninth maintenance update of the Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 operating system.

          • Massive Unity 8 Convergence Goodness Now Available for All Ubuntu Phone Users
          • Ubuntu Touch with a Mouse Cursor Is Interesting and Cool at the Same Time
          • Ubuntu 15.10 Review: Less Exciting & Largely Unchanged

            From a technological point of view, according to the release notes, a lot of efforts have been made to smoothen the transition from the Upstart (init daemon — a core utility that manages boot-up services & applications that work in the background called ‘daemons’) to Systemd which was first initiated with the Ubuntu 15.04 release. There’s also a technological preview of the upcoming Unity 8 desktop as well. Previously it was also mentioned that ‘TLP’ (a handy power usage optimizer) will also be shipped by default, but it has not made its way to this release due to unknown reasons.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Simplicity Linux 15.10 is now available to download!

              We are very pleased to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 15.10. Due to some issues users were finding with the 64 bit edition of Simplicity 15.7, we’ve decided to put our 64 bit releases on hiatus until we can resolve the issue.

              The two 32 bit bit editions of Simplicity 15.10 both feature the 4.1.1 Linux kernel and are based on the excellent LXPup. LXDE is used as the desktop, and wbar is used as a dock for preinstalled software and features.

              Netbook is our lightweight edition, which comes with fewer local apps and more cloud based applications. It’s a good starting point for anyone who might feel intimidated by Linux or people with older hardware.

            • Kubuntu 15.10 Gaming Impact With KDE Plasma 5 Compositing For R600 Gallium3D

              As mentioned in yesterday’s article with KDE Plasma 5 generally leading to a slower gaming experience than GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE, the issue comes down to KDE continuing to composite full-screen windows by default. This leads to a performance penalty as has been explained and tested in many articles before on Phoronix. For making things fair, it was a performance comparison of these Fedora 23 desktop environments out-of-the-box as representative what a new user would encounter and making the assumption the software vendor makes the best decisions regarding defaults. However, in the comments to yesterday’s article were several requests for running some fresh tests to show the impact of the full-screen window compositing versus when the compositing is suspended.

            • Simplicity Linux 15.10 Officially Released, Rebased on Linux Kernel 4.1.1 LTS

              The developers of the Simplicity Linux distribution have had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of the final release of Simplicity Linux 15.10.

            • Joint statement: Kubuntu Council + Community Council

              Members of both the Kubuntu and Community Councils have been approached by community members and asked what the relationship is between the each other. Both councils would like to confirm that the relationship is strong, and mechanisms are in place to ensure a healthy and open relationship between both councils. We would all like to point out that both councils collaborated and resolved any tensions together. We are all part of this one Ubuntu community, many of us have known each other for years and we all believe that everyone’s contributions are important, no matter which part of the project they ultimately land in. The two council are actively working on a number of concrete issues together and have decided to increase the frequency of meetings to better track progress.

            • Ubuntu Community Council + Kubuntu Issue Joint Statement
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • San Francisco could lead on open source voting

    Open source voting systems offer increased transparency by using nonproprietary software open to the public to review the source code, which counts the ballots and issues election results. Supporters say open source voting is needed to safeguard against election tampering.

  • An Experiment In Reviving Dead Open Source Projects

    Earlier this week I did a keynote at All Things Open. While the topic covered the opportunity of us building effective community collaboration and speeding up the development of Open Source and innovation, I also touched on some of the challenges.

    One of these challenges is sustainability. There are too many great Open Source projects out there that are dead.

    My view, although some may consider it rather romantic, is that there is a good maintainer out there for the vast majority of these projects, but the project and the new maintainer just haven’t met yet. So, this got me thinking…I wonder if this theory is actually true, and if it is, how do we connect these people and projects together?

    While on the flight home I started thinking of what this could look like. I then had an idea of how this could work and I have written a little code to play with it. This is almost certainly the wrong solution to this problem, but I figured it could be an interesting start to a wider discussion for how we solve the issue of dead projects.

  • Open source code isn’t a warranty

    So where does open source fit into this? Accidental bugs, sometimes significant, will continue to exist whether or not the source code is open. Heartbleed, ShellShock, and many other high-profile vulnerabilities in open source software tell us this is the case. Intentional misbehavior would become riskier in the open, but openness is only helpful to the degree we have some way of validating that the source code that has been provided is what’s actually running. This becomes increasingly important as cars become open systems, connected to our phones and to mobile Internet services.

  • LinkedIn open-sources PalDB, a key-value store for handling ‘side data’

    LinkedIn today announced that it is releasing a new key-value store — which is a category of database — under an open-source license. The software, which goes by the name PalDB, was designed to store what LinkedIn calls “side data” — essentially, data that’s needed for a certain very small piece of an entire application.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla props up its Open Source projects

        Open saucy browser maker Mozilla is spending a million dollars to make sure that the projects, upon which the company depends on do not collapse.

        One of the problems of Open Sauce software is that projects get dumped because they cannot find enough developers interested in maintaining them, or the money to keep them active. This is a problem for a big organisation like Mozilla which needs some projects to be kept going at all costs.

      • Mozilla Open Source Support Program

        The Mozilla Foundation has launched the Mozilla Open Source Support program with an initial allocation of $1million which will be shared between up to 10 projects that Mozilla relies on.

      • Mozilla pledges $1M in funds to open-source projects

        The Mozilla Foundation, the organisation behind open-source projects Firefox, Thunderbird, and others, has announced an initiative to give back to projects on which its own creations rely – and is beginning with an impressive $1 million in funding.

      • Mozilla Launches $1M Program for Open Source/Free Software Projects
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Attunity Expands Big Data Management Platform to Support PostgeSQL

      Attunity Ltd., a provider of data management software solutions, has introduced the latest version of its data replication and loading solution. Designed to accelerate enterprise big data analytics initiatives, Attunity Replicate 5.0 automates big data movement to, from and between databases, data warehouses, Hadoop and the cloud, reducing the time and labor, and ultimately the cost of making big data analytics available in real time.

  • CMS

  • Business

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 10.1: Ghost in the machine

      I like the GhostBSD project and its goal. I think, in the past, there has generally not been enough work done to make FreeBSD a good operating system for desktop use. FreeBSD works well in the role of a server operating system, it’s stable, fast and the project evolves in such a way that it is fairly easy to upgrade a FreeBSD system over time. However, FreeBSD (while it can be used as a desktop operating system) lacks many of the characteristics one might want on the desktop, such as a graphical installer, multimedia support, a graphical package manager and an attractive, pre-configured desktop environment. While these features can be added or enabled on FreeBSD, most users will want those tools to be in place and to just work right from the start.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • LLVM Developers Discuss Relicensing Code To Apache License

      However, shifting the license would break compatibility with the GPLv2 and could make this compiler less interesting to the BSD developers from contributing. LLVM Founder Chris Lattner issued the request for comments over possibly changing the license. The current licensing situation is also problematic for not being able to easily move code from LLVM to their Compiler-RT sub-project, since that’s licensed under both the UIUC and MIT licenses.


  • Hardware

    • Infrastructure Should Enable Not Block Business

      In the modern world, companies are decreasing their investment in commodities, whether it be software, hardware, or infrastructure. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation explained in an interview. “Organizations have discovered that they want to shed what is essentially commodity R&D and software development that isn’t core to their customers and build all of that software in open source. The reason is there is simply too much software to be written for any single organization to do it themselves.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Has No Choice but to Coexist with Iran, CIA Director Said in 2007

      Iran “will be a major player on the world stage in the decades ahead” and the US has no choice but to “find a way to coexist” with the Islamic Republic, said CIA Director John Brennan in 2007, the WikiLeaks has revealed.

      According to a new revelation which the WikiLeaks posted Wednesday on its Twitter account, the organization claimed it had obtained a new document from an email account belonging to Brennan.

    • Washington Accuses Putin. Russian Airstrikes are Targeting “Our Guys” in Syria: CIA Operatives, Military Advisers, Mercenaries, Special Forces, … Instead of ISIS Terrorists

      The “Our Guys” category (“fighting for their lives”) not only includes bona fide “moderate terrorists” trained by the Western military alliance, it also includes countless Western military advisers, intelligence agents and mercenaries (often recruited by private security companies) operating on the ground inside Syria since March 2011.

    • US special forces and the CIA are using drones against al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq

      The drone strikes – separate from the large air campaign run by U.S. Central Command – have significantly diminished the threat from the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaida cell in Syria that had planned attacks on American aviation, officials say.

    • Old hurdles and new haunt the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo

      Colleen Kelly came to Guantanamo Bay with a sense of impatience, dismayed at the U.S. military’s floundering effort to try five detainees charged with roles in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

    • No mission creep: US troops wear ‘sneakers not boots’ on the ground in Iraq

      It is recognized that besides 35,000 US troops on the ground in Iraq, there are an unknown number of other Special Forces and CIA forces on the ground, says Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at IPS, Washington DC.

    • The New York Times Debunks Conservative Media’s “Vigilant Citizen” Concealed Carry Myth

      The New York Times editorial board debunked the prevalent conservative media myth that a “vigilant citizen packing a legally permitted concealed weapon” might “stop the next mass shooter.” To the contrary, the October 26 editorial cites a recent finding that individuals with concealed carry permits committed 579 shootings since 2007, claiming at least 763 lives, noting “the vast majority of these concealed-carry, licensed shooters killed themselves or others rather than taking down a perpetrator.”

    • Did Times Underplay Drone Program Leak?

      Using a cache of material from an intelligence source that some are calling a “new Snowden,” the start-up national security news site called The Intercept earlier this month published an ambitious investigative project, “The Drone Papers.”

      It exposes details about the inner workings of the American drone program, describing a bureaucratic “kill chain” that leads to the president. It also describes the shocking extent to which drones kill people who were not the intended targets in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan. (According to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the individuals killed in one five month period during an operation in Afghanistan were unintended targets.)

      The “Drone Papers” have been covered by many outlets around the world and in the United States since its publication. Among those that published stories on the project were NPR, CNN, PBS NewsHour, Newsweek, The Guardian and Quartz. The series was excerpted in the Huffington Post, which also ran a related story on the source.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ​Climate Change Is Already Costing Us Billions of Dollars Every Year

      Climate change has already begun to cost us, and it’s only going to get worse.

      Hurricanes, intensified in size and frequency by climate change, are taking a massive financial toll already, according to a new paper. The study, published in Nature Geoscience this week, found that an increase in property dollar amounts lost over the past several decades in a case study was due to hurricanes intensified by global warming.

      Conducted by researchers from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Mexico and VU University in the Netherlands, the researched used statistical models to estimate the economic losses from storms from 1900 to 2005, taking into account societal change and wealth gains over the years. The findings suggest that between 2 and 12 percent of losses during the year 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, could be attributed to global warming.

  • Privacy

    • Silicon Valley’s opposition to cybersecurity bill mounts as US Senate prepares to vote

      Which matters more to you: curbing the onslaught of daily cyberattacks or protecting your online privacy?

      That will be the crux of the debate Tuesday as the US Senate prepares to vote on the latest version of a controversial cybersecurity bill.

      The aim of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) seems straightforward. The bill’s backers say it will create a system that lets companies share evidence of hackers’ footprints with one another and the US government, without the risk of being sued for breaking privacy-protection or antitrust laws.

    • Advertisers Should Take Responsibility for Annoying People and Driving Them to Use Ad Blockers

      The Interactive Advertising Bureau issued a remarkable mea culpa last week about the state of online advertising. In response to the rise of ad-blocking software, IAB VP Scott Cunningham said digital advertisers should take responsibility for annoying people and driving them to use ad blockers…

    • DOJ Claims Apple Should Be Forced To Decrypt iPhones Because Apple, Not Customers, ‘Own’ iOS

      The DOJ has filed its response to Apple’s claims that unlocking an iPhone 5 would be unduly burdensome. This ongoing dispute over an All Writs Act order (the act itself dates back to 1789) is also an ongoing dispute over the use of encryption-by-default on Apple phones running iOS 8 or higher.

      The argument started with one of the founding members of the “Magistrates’ Revolt” — Judge James Orenstein — who, back in 2005, challenged another All Writs order by the DOJ. A decade ago, Orenstein pointed out that the government’s use of these particular orders circumvented both the judicial system (by granting it powers Congress hadn’t) and the legislative system (which hadn’t created statutes specifically authorizing the actions the order demanded). Nothing has changed a decade later — not even the DOJ’s continued attempts to teach an old law new tricks.

    • While Most Of The Rest Of The Internet Industry Is Fighting Against CISA, Facebook Accused Of Secretly Lobbying For It

      However, the folks at Fight for the Future, who have been working hard to stop CISA, are now claiming that they have it on good authority that Facebook is one of the only internet companies secretly lobbying in favor of the bill and is asking people to sign its petition to convince Facebook to back down…

    • Two Intended Consequences CISA Supporters Will Be Responsible For

      Given that a majority in the Senate is preparing to vote for CISA, I wanted to lay out two intended consequences of CISA, so supporters will know what we will hold them responsible for when these intended consequences prove out:

      The government will lose power to crack down on providers who don’t take care of customers’ data.

    • Reading The Tea Leaves To Understand Why CISA Is A Surveillance Bill

      I’ve had a few conversations recently with people on Twitter who claim that CISA is “not a surveillance bill,” claiming that they’ve read the bill and there’s nothing about surveillance in it. It’s true that the bill positions itself as nothing more than a “cybersecurity” bill that clarifies a few things and then provides some immunity for companies who “voluntarily” share information. However, as I’ve said in response, in order to understand why it’s a surveillance bill, you have to look more closely at how CISA interacts with other laws and what the intelligence community is currently doing. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy, because part of what the intelligence community is doing and how they’ve interpreted other laws remains secret. But, as you’ve probably heard, some of that has been leaking out over the past few years.

    • Clinton Private E-Mail Included CIA Source Identity: Yahoo

      Nothing indicates March, 2011 e-mail was marked classified when Clinton received it, though sensitive nature of it should have been red flag and it should not have been passed along, former CIA officer John Maguire tells Yahoo

    • CIA Steps Up Its Game in Cyberfight Against Hackers

      The CIA is making a great leap into the 21st century.

      As part of a broader reorganization, the clandestine agency this month launched its first new directorate in more than 50 years, designed to expand the agency’s cyber-espionage efforts and its fight against hackers. Director John Brennan called the move “a key milestone” in the CIA’s broader modernization efforts.

  • Civil Rights

    • CIA pulled officers from Beijing after breach of federal personnel records

      The CIA pulled a number of officers from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing as a precautionary measure in the wake of the massive cybertheft of the personal data of federal employees, current and former U.S. officials said.

    • CIA Use of Waterboarding Found to be More Extensive than Agency Admitted

      In these cases, men endured “water dousing” that, like waterboarding, could simulate a drowning sensation or chill a person’s body temperature through immersion in water, with or without the use of a board, causing them to suffer hypothermia.

    • Guantánamo war court grapples with how an ex-CIA ‘Black Site’ captive can be his own lawyer

      Lawyers and the judge at the Sept. 11 trial haggled over the mechanics on Tuesday of how a former CIA captive kept virtually incommunicado could defend himself at the five-man death-penalty trial.

      No date has been set for the trial of the alleged architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and four alleged co-conspirators. The question arose Monday after an alleged plot deputy, Walid bin Attash, asked the judge how he would go about representing himself.

    • Former CIA interrogator forced to resign from college post following exposé

      A former CIA interrogator says he was asked to resign from his college teaching post in Erie, Pennsylvania after Newsweek magazine ran a feature article about him earlier this month.

      David Martine, 59, told local Fox affiliate WJET-TV in a story broadcast Friday that Gannon University “demanded his immediate resignation” last week after publication of the article, which explored his 26-year career as a CIA interrogator and security agent. He said his dismissal was so abrupt he was “not able to transition any of his classes, or say goodbye to his students,” the station reported.

      A spokesperson for Gannon, a private Catholic college founded in 1925, would not say why Martine was forced out, telling WJET-TV: “It is university policy not to comment on personnel matters.”

    • NYPD Continues to Confuse Itself with the CIA

      The New York Police Department has said it has ended its practice of using informants to snoop on Muslim organizations in New York and New Jersey without any actual definable suspicion of terrorist activity attached to the targets.

      Instead it could very well be using vans with X-ray-emitting equipment (costing more than $700,000 each) to snoop inside vehicles and buildings. We don’t know the extent to which this is happening, nor whether it’s creating health hazards for anybody caught up in it, because the New York Police Department is refusing to provide any information and fighting against a court order that they do.

    • Kevin McKenna: The UK establishment’s in-built prejudice is still with us 80 years on

      The PM’s sneers at Corbyn betray just how attitudes have not really changed

    • JFK Assassination Plot Mirrored in 1961 France: Part 1

      What the colonial powers have done in Muslim countries is well known. Less well known are the machinations of Allen Dulles and the CIA in one of these colonial powers, France.

    • Saudi Arabia attacks Jeremy Corbyn over lack of ‘respect’

      The Labour leader has urged the Government to scrap a £5.9m prison consultancy contract with the repressive Middle Eastern regime

    • BBC Protects U.K.’s Close Ally Saudi Arabia With Incredibly Dishonest and Biased Editing

      The BBC loves to boast about how “objective” and “neutral” it is. But a recent article, which it was forced to change, illustrates the lengths to which the British state-funded media outlet will go to protect one of the U.K. government’s closest allies, Saudi Arabia, which also happens to be one of the country’s largest arms purchasers (just this morning, the Saudi ambassador to the U.K. threatened in an op-ed that any further criticism of the Riyadh regime by Jeremy Corbyn could jeopardize the multi-layered U.K./Saudi alliance).

      Earlier this month, the BBC published an article describing the increase in weapons and money sent by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regimes to anti-Assad fighters in Syria. All of that “reporting” was based on the claims of what the BBC called “a Saudi government official,” who — because he works for a government closely allied with the U.K. — was granted anonymity by the BBC and then had his claims mindlessly and uncritically presented as fact (it is the rare exception when the BBC reports adversarially on the Saudis). This anonymous “Saudi official” wasn’t whistleblowing or presenting information contrary to the interests of the regime; to the contrary, he was disseminating official information the regime wanted publicized.


      So the Saudis, says the anonymous official, are only arming groups such as the “Army of Conquest,” but not the al Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front. What’s the problem with this claim? It’s obvious, though the BBC would not be so impolite as to point it out: The Army of Conquest includes the Nusra Front as one of its most potent components.


      In other words, the claim from the anonymous Saudi official that the BBC uncritically regurgitated — that the Saudis are only arming the Army of Conquest but no groups that “include” the Nusra Front — is self-negating. A BBC reader, Ricardo Vaz, brought this contradiction to the BBC’s attention. As he told The Intercept: “The problem is that the Nusra Front is the most important faction inside the Army of Conquest. So either the Saudi official expected the BBC journalist not to know this, or he expects us to believe they can deliver weapons to factions fighting side by side with an al Qaeda affiliate and that those weapons will not make their way into Nusra’s hands. In any case, this is very close to an official admission that the Saudis (along with Qataris and Turkish) are supplying weapons to an al Qaeda affiliate. This of course is not a secret to anyone who’s paying attention.”


      But what this does highlight is just how ludicrous — how beyond parody — the 14-year-old war on terror has become, how little it has to do with its original ostensible justification. The regime with the greatest plausible proximity to the 9/11 attack — Saudi Arabia — is the closest U.S. ally in the region next to Israel. The country that had absolutely nothing to do with that attack, and which is at least as threatened as the U.S. by the religious ideology that spurred it — Iran — is the U.S.’s greatest war-on-terror adversary. Now we have a virtual admission from the Saudis that they are arming a group that centrally includes al Qaeda, while the U.S. itself has at least indirectly done the same (just as was true in Libya). And we’re actually at the point where western media outlets are vehemently denouncing Russia for bombing al Qaeda elements, which those outlets are manipulatively referring to as “non-ISIS groups.”

    • IMF: Saudi Arabia is in danger of running out of money within five years

      Saudi Arabia has about $650 billion in foreign reserves to help it withstand the slump in oil prices. But at the country’s current rate of spending, it won’t take long before the supply of reserves runs out.

      According to a recent IMF report, the drop in oil prices from around $100 per barrel in 2014 to $45 per barrel this summer has already cost oil exporters in the Middle East roughly $360 billion this year. Without drastic action, several countries are at risk of using up their cash reserves within five years.

    • Rape victims in the UAE facing imprisonment for having extramarital sex, claims documentary

      A significant number of migrant women working in the UAE face prosecution and sometimes jail after being raped, a new documentary claims.

      The Zina laws, based on Islamic Sharia law, makes extra material sex illegal in the country; this includes adultery, fornication and homosexuality.

      A BBC Arabic documentary, Pregnant and Chains — to be screened at the BBC Arabic Film Festival this week — found “hundreds” of women have been imprisoned under these laws, including women who have been raped and women who are pregnant.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • MEPs Ready to Give in to Telcos

      Tomorrow, MEPs will vote during the plenary session the Telecom Single Market regulation which includes a part on Net Neutrality, more than a year after their very positive vote. On the pretext that the dispositions, to be voted tomorrow, are less harmful that the Council’s version, a large majority of the MEPs are ready to come back on the breakthroughs of the previous version by approving a text that has too many loopholes to be adopted without being amended as it will put at risk our fundamental rights and liberties.

    • Letter to MEPs: Net Neutrality, Will You Betray Yourselves?

      Tomorrow, MEPs will vote the the Telecom Single Market regulation text. If amendments to ensure Net neutrality are not adopted, then MEPs will have betrayed their own vote of April 2014 and the citizens who elected them.

    • The EU Prepares To Vote For Awful, Loophole-Filled Net Neutrality Rules

      On Tuesday, the European Union is expected to vote on new net neutrality rules, the end result of months of debate between the European Commission, European Parliament, and the EU Council. Of course just like here in the States, heavy lobbying pressure by ISPs has the lion’s share of politicians supporting loopholes that will let giant ISPs do pretty much everything they want. The rules at first glance look very similar to the flimsy, 2010 rules proposed in the U.S. back in 2010 — allowing ISPs to engage in anti-competitive shenanigans — provided the carrier vaguely insists it’s for the safety and security of the network.

    • Net Neutrality in Europe: A Statement From Sir Tim Berners-Lee

      Tomorrow, members of the European Parliament face a key vote on the future of the Internet. The proposed regulations in front of them are weak and confusing. To keep Europe innovative and competitive, it is essential that MEPs adopt amendments for stronger “network neutrality” (net neutrality).

      When I designed the World Wide Web, I built it as an open platform to foster collaboration and innovation. The Web evolved into a powerful and ubiquitous platform because I was able to build it on an open network that treated all packets of information equally. This principle of net neutrality has kept the Internet a free and open space since its inception.

      Since then, the Internet has become the central infrastructure of our time — every sector of our economy and democracy depends on it.

    • Net neutrality: Final countdown to keep the internet fair and equal

      The proposal before the Parliament has crucial loopholes. My colleagues and I are fighting until the last minute for an internet that is fair and equal.

    • The Gaps in Global Internet Governance Are Growing, According to New CFR Interactive

      With over 40 percent of the world’s population now online, the Internet has revolutionized the way the world communicates. But with fast evolving technology, a proliferation of actors with access to the Internet, and an absence of international consensus on what should be permissible, the gap between existing world arrangements and the challenges posed by the Internet is in fact widening, according to the latest addition to the Global Governance Monitor, a multimedia resource from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

    • New top-level domains a money grab and a mistake: Paul Vixie

      DNS is what makes the internet relevant, says Vixie, with ICANN caving in to demands from the companies it’s meant to be regulating indicating corruption.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sony Filed a Copyright Claim Against the Stock Video I Licensed to Them

        For the past few years, people have been contending with more and more false copyright claims and ID matches on services such as YouTube. While these copyright claims often involve an audio match of copyrighted music, sometimes it is the visual content that is in question.

        Whether it’s still photography or motion imagery, your visual content can be flagged, blocked, or removed due to a copyright dispute. If you have original content on YouTube, this could happen to you.

      • Russian companies should block UDP traffic to fight piracy, says think tank

        A Russian Internet industry think tank has proposed making companies legally responsible for Internet traffic flowing on their networks if it uses the UDP protocol. Discouraging the use of UDP in this way is designed to stymie BitTorrent clients, most of which have switched from the more usual TCP protocol to the simpler, connectionless UDP, according to a report on the Cnews site (Google translation).

        The proposal forms part of a larger “media and information roadmap” (Russian PDF), which comes from the Internet Development Institute, set up earlier this year by organisations representing the main Internet, software, and media companies in Russia. The aims of the think tank are to create a forum for industry discussions, carry out research, and “dialogue with the authorities.”

      • Why can’t I fix my tractor?

        Down on the farm, there’s a controversy brewing, because farm equipment manufacturer John Deere doesn’t want farmers tinkering with the software on the farmers’ own tractors. Spark contributor Sean Prpick talks to Saskatchewan farmer Chris Herrnbock, who wants to see a more flexible and farmer-friendly policy rather than a copyright crackdown.


Links 26/10/2015: GUADEC 2016 Plans, Solus’ Budgie Desktop

Posted in News Roundup at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Twitter Will Soon Fill Your Moments Feed With Ads

    Twitter is not waiting to monetize its two-week-old Moments feature, which will run its first ad this weekend.

    Advertisers will get their own Moments channel for 24 hours, where they can post and curate content (including images and video) as they see fit. The first to do so is a coalition of MGM, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, who are all banding together to push the movie Creed, which is a Rocky spinoff and not a documentary about the Christian rock band.

  • ‘1984’ is timely­—Big Brother’s threat remains

    Published in 1949, “1984” grapples with diverse themes, including the relationship between language and thought, the repression of individuality and the manipulation of information, according to Richard Chwedyk, an adjunct professor in the Creative Writing Department.

  • Manchester United pub The Trafford bans half-and-half scarves

    Half-and-half scarves have been banned from a supporters’ pub in the shadows of Old Trafford .

    Despite the enmity between United and City, hundreds of derby day matchgoers have snapped up the ‘tourist fans’ souvenirs, which many supporters regard as a symbol of the soulless commercialisation of football.

    But now The Trafford, on Chester Road, has banned the scarves and the popular boozer is refusing entry to supporters who turn up wearing them ahead of United home games.

    “No half & half scarves! No exceptions!! Please place them in the bin and clear your conscience,” the sign read on derby day.

  • SF Biz Finds New Hires Hard to Find

    While the boom in San Francisco has helped boost business, shops and restaurants are finding that they have no one to make the sales.

    “We’re desperate,” said Jefferson McCarley, the owner of Mission Bicycle.

    McCarley said he once chased a customer for two blocks down the street after thinking that his noticeably sunny attitude would make him good at sales. Unfortunately for Mission Bicycle, the man was a medical professional.

    Chewy Marzolo, who manages Escape From New York pizza on 22nd Street, is hiring a prep cook and has been looking for a few weeks. That used to be the easiest position to fill, “because until recently, that’s something that everyone here knew how to do,” he said. Signs in window would fill the position.

  • Science

    • The CIA’s Bold Kidnapping of a Soviet Spacecraft

      One day in late 1959 or 1960 — dates aren’t totally clear in declassified documents — a crack team of four CIA agents worked through the night in stocking feet taking apart a kidnapped Soviet Lunik spacecraft without removing it from its crate. They photographed every part and documented every construction element, then perfectly reassembled the whole thing without leaving a trace. It was a daring bit of espionage at the early years of the space race. Intended to level the playing field between two international superpowers, it was a heist that risked turning the cold war hot.

  • Botnets

  • Health/Nutrition

  • September News

    • Anonymous Browsing at the Library

      The good news is that the library is resisting the pressure and keeping Tor running.

    • New Hampshire Library Rejects DHS Fearmongering, Turns Tor Back On
    • Despite Law Enforcement Concerns, Lebanon Board Will Reactivate Privacy Network Tor at Kilton Library
    • This Is Why 335,000 Target Workers Are Getting Fitbits

      Target will be offering Fitbits to its employees in an attempt to improve their health and cut down on health care costs, Bloomberg reports.

    • Mt. Gox chief charged with embezzling bitcoin funds

      Japanese prosecutors have charged the former founder and CEO of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox with embezzling the money of clients. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

    • Mt. Gox owner faces new embezzlement charges in Japan

      Late last week, Japanese prosecutors charged Mark Karpelès, the owner of famed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, with embezzlement. Authorities there accused him of stealing millions of dollars worth of bitcoins from customers of Mt. Gox.

      This marks the second time Karpelès has been charged in Japan. In July 2015, he was accused of falsifying financial data. For now, the Frenchman remains behind bars in Tokyo.

    • Science “Pirate” Attacks Elsevier’s Copyright Monopoly in Court

      In a lawsuit filed by Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers, the operator of Sci-Hub.org is facing millions of dollars in damages. This week she submitted her first reply to the court, scolding the publisher for exploiting researchers and blocking access to knowledge.

    • US Intelligence Is More Privatized Than Ever Before

      Almost 14 years to the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks drove intelligence spending into the stratosphere, two of the largest business associations in the spying industry held a “summit” meeting to discuss the current state of national security. Two realities were immediately apparent.

    • Security guard ordered to give up drones after admitting to flying them over football matches

      A security guard has been banned from operating drone aircraft after admitting flying them over the Palace of Westminster, football stadiums and Buckingham Palace.

      Nigel Wilson has been ordered to forfeit the three drones and the cameras he fitted to them because he flew them over built-up areas in “flagrant disregard” for the safety of people below. It is the first time a person has been prosecuted for using drones.

    • It Only Took GM Five Years To Patch Dangerous Vulnerability Impacting Millions Of Automobiles

      For all the hype surrounding the “Internet of Things” (IOT), it’s becoming abundantly clear that the security actually governing the sector is little more than hot garbage. Whether it’s televisions that bleed unencrypted, recorded living room conversations, or refrigerators that expose your Gmail credentials, IOT developers were so excited to cash in on the brave new world of connectivity, security was an absolute afterthought. Entertainingly, that has resulted in many “smart” technologies being little more than advertisements for the fact that sometimes, it’s ok for your device to be as stupid as possible.

    • Lidl to pay recommended living wage

      Lidl has said it will become the first UK supermarket to implement the minimum wage as recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.

    • Conservation will be key in the takeover of National Geographic

      The Foxification of National Geographic startled a few lemurs in the American media jungle last week. A new joint venture, built on an axis which takes the globally known magazine and its televisual and digital assets from the not-for-profit sector and puts them under the control of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox, caused initial shock and dismay. While outside the US National Geographic might be best known to consumers as the source of monkey pictures in dentists’ waiting rooms, it is a significant investor in science and research; and while the Murdoch millions boosting the endowment are welcome, the shadow of a different editorial line is not. But maybe for once those fears are misplaced.

    • EU puts fresh coat of paint on ISDS, now re-branded as “Investment Court System”

      The European Commission has unveiled its proposals to overhaul the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which grants foreign companies a privileged, extralegal system for suing governments over regulations and laws they claim would harm their investments. The Commission hopes the new approach will be included in the TTIP agreement currently being negotiated with the US. Problematically, the new proposals still grant exceptional legal privileges to foreign investors not enjoyed by domestic companies or the public.

      Speaking today in Brussels, the Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, said she wants to replace traditional ISDS tribunals with a new Investment Court System (ICS). Under the ICS, disputes between companies and countries would be decided by three judges drawn at random from a pool of 15—five from the EU, five from the US, and five from other nations—previously chosen jointly by the EU and US. The proceedings would be held in public, rather than in secret as with the current ISDS approach, which is based on ad-hoc tribunals formed of three specialist lawyers.

    • Sorry, Apple. Turns Out Designers Don’t Use iPads
    • iPad Pro not even an iPad replacement, let alone MacBook
    • Apple competitive edge ‘fading dangerously’: Ovum
    • Bug in iOS and OSX Allows Writing of Arbitrary Files Via AirDrop

      There is a major vulnerability in a library in iOS that allows an attacker to overwrite arbitrary files on a target device and, when used in conjunction with other techniques, install a signed app that the device will trust without prompting the user with a warning dialog.

    • John Oliver: If you’re forced to rely on “hideously broken” public defender system, “you’re f*cked”

      Oliver later discussed the ordeal of a Floridian who was arrested on a traffic violation and racked up over $600 in court fees in order plead “no contest.” “They may as well as charged him an irony fee,” Oliver said, “because as it turns out, being poor in Florida is really fucking expensive.”

    • ISPs don’t have 1st Amendment right to edit Internet, FCC tells court

      The Federal Communications Commission yesterday said it did not violate the First Amendment rights of Internet service providers when it voted to implement net neutrality rules.

      Broadband providers who sued to overturn the rules claim their constitutional rights are being violated, but the FCC disputed that and other arguments in a filing in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    • Millions of UK emails on global virus plotters’ hitlist

      British cyber-security experts have uncovered a trove of hundreds of millions of email addresses being used as a hitlist by criminals stealing financial data from banks, government bodies and other corporates.

      Specialists at GCHQ have been alerting companies named in the files, as an international investigation seeks to track down those using it.

    • Snapchat’s latest feature: Pay to replay a message that disappeared

      The hot social-networking startup is offering customers in the US the opportunity to re-watch photos and videos they’ve already seen, part of the latest effort to expand its business.

    • Judge Slams Copyright Troll’s “Harassment” Tactics in Piracy Case

      Adult movie studio Malibu Media has received a slap on the wrist from New York federal judge Katherine Forrest. The company asked permission to interrogate the neighbors and spouse of an accused downloader, a tactic the court equates to harassment.

    • Conservative Party Pirated Labour Leader Supporter’s Video

      A controversial UK Conservative party video portraying the Labour party’s new leader in a negative light has been taken down by YouTube. The advert, which attacked incoming Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, contained copyrighted content not authorized for use by the Tories. In fact, the footage is owned by a staunch Corbyn supporter.

    • California’s low snowpack truly exceptional

      After two winters of extremely low precipitation, California is suffering through a severe drought, one exacerbated by unusually warm weather. The heat influences the drought in part by enhancing evaporation, ensuring that less of the limited precipitation stays in the ground. But it also changes the dynamics of how the precipitation falls. That’s because most of the precipitation comes in winter, and temperatures control whether it falls as rain or snow.

    • Sierra Nevada’s 500-year snowpack low deepens California drought

      The snow cover on the iconic US mountain range of Sierra Nevada has hit a 500-year low, with the snowpack in April this year just 5 per cent of the average volumes recorded for that month between 1951 and 2000.

    • The Dismal State of America’s Decade-Old Voting Machines

      As the US presidential election season heats up, the public has focused on the candidates vying for the nation’s top office. But whether Donald Trump will secure the Republican nomination is secondary to a more serious quandary: whether the nation’s voting machines will hold up when Americans head to the polls in 2016.

      Nearly every state is using electronic touchscreen and optical-scan voting systems that are at least a decade old, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law (.pdf). Beyond the fact the machines are technologically antiquated, after years of wear and tear, states are reporting increasing problems with degrading touchscreens, worn-out modems for transmitting election results, and failing motherboards and memory cards.

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

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

    • Diamond Open Access Gets Real: ‘Free To Read, Free To Publish’ Arrives

      All-in-all, this is an exciting development, and one that could have a major impact on scholarly publishing if it is taken up more widely. However, the fact that it took even its inventor over two years to create his first diamond open access title shows that it is likely to be a while before that happens.

    • How digital tech secured Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership victory

      How did an unknown no-hoper end up winning the race to become leader of the Labour Party by a huge margin? Digital technology seems to have played a key part. According to The Guardian, the campaign deployed its own special canvassing app, “which allows anyone in the country to set up a phone bank on their home computer—making calls, listing questions to be asked and providing a place for answers to be registered.” The app was specially created by a volunteer, many of whom were recruited through an extensive use of social media by Corbyn supporters.

    • Can Jeremy Corbyn Free Labour From the Dead Hand of Tony Blair?

      Once considered a fringe candidate, Corbyn won a huge mandate. But can he consolidate the party and keep new voters energized?

    • Federal Court Invalidates 11-Year-old FBI gag order on National Security Letter recipient Nicholas Merrill

      A federal district court has ordered the FBI to lift an eleven-year- old gag order imposed on Nicholas Merrill forbidding him from speaking about a National Security Letter (“NSL”) that the FBI served on him in 2004. The ruling marks the first time that an NSL gag order has been lifted in full since the PATRIOT Act vastly expanded the scope of the FBI’s NSL authority in 2001. Mr. Merrill, the executive director of the Calyx Institute, is represented by law students and supervising attorneys of the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, a program of Yale Law School’s Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression and Information Society Project.

    • Federal Court Finally Says That Gag Order On 11-Year-Old National Security Letter Should Be Lifted Already

      Five years ago, we wrote about a pretty big victory against National Security Letters (NSLs), which the government has long used to get around the 4th Amendment, demanding information from companies, complete with a perpetual gag order. In 2007, an anonymous ISP owner fought back, speaking out against the whole gag order thing, but not even being able to say what ISP he was associated with, because of that gag order. In 2010, Nicholas Merrill, of Calyx Internet Access, was finally able to admit that he was the one fighting the gag order — after reaching an agreement with the government (and that was after a number of trips back and forth between the district and appeals courts). Now, five years later, a federal court has finally ruled that the gag order, which was issued back in 2004, should be lifted, because the government has no “good reason” for keeping it in place and keeping the gag order would violate the First Amendment. You can read the redacted order here, which is an interesting read. Basically, a permanent gag order doesn’t really fit with that whole First Amendment thing we have here in the US — but the court prefers to focus on whether or not there’s any reason to keep the order in place now.

    • Calling All Network Engineers and Computer Scientists: Help Defend Net Neutrality

      Are you a computer scientist? A network engineer? Have you developed a new web-based protocol? If so, we want you to sign on to a statement [PDF] explaining to the DC Circuit Court that openness and neutrality are fundamental to how the Internet was designed and how it operates today.

    • Condé Nast Names Bob Sauerberg CEO

      Condé Nast president Robert A. Sauerberg Jr. will take over as CEO effective January 2016, with current chief exec Charles Townsend to become chairman of the publishing company.

      As part of the shuffle at the top, S.I. Newhouse Jr. will assume the role of chairman emeritus.

      Sauerberg, 54, joined the company in 2005 as executive VP. Previously he held senior leadership roles at Fairchild Fashion Media, including COO and CFO, and spent 18 years with the New York Times Co., eventually rising to CFO of its magazine group.

    • 2600 Explains Eloquently How Excessive Copyright Harms Everyone

      Last week, we wrote about how the famous hacker magazine 2600 received a copyright threat letter concerning the cover of its Spring 2012 issue (which, we noted, meant that the three-year statute of limitations had passed for a copyright claim anyway). But this was even worse, because the “claim” was over some ink splotches that were in the background of an image that the threat letter claimed copyright over, and which 2600 used a tiny bit of on its cover. Except… that the splotches themselves were actually from a Finnish artist going by the name Loadus, and licensed freely for either commercial or non-commercial use.

    • Cop Invents Device That Sniffs MAC Addresses To Locate Stolen Devices

      Now, the odds are small that police will run into conflicting, duplicate addresses, but this fact makes it impossible to guarantee that tracking down a MAC address actually means tracking down a stolen device. For that reason alone, L8NT’s architecture may be changed to grab more identifying info… which will lead to more questions about the constitutionality of the device, which will act like a low-level search of a home’s electronics. Its impact will also be blunted by the information it seeks, considering not every device is assigned a MAC address and addresses are unobtainable unless they’re turned on and connected to a Wi-Fi network.

    • Nearly 4 years after raid, Dotcom loses bid to delay extradition hearing
    • Dotcom Fails in Last-Ditch Bid to Delay U.S. Extradition Hearing

      The former operators of Megaupload have failed in a last-ditch effort to delay their U.S. extradition hearing. Kim Dotcom and his associates argued for more time to prepare but the Court of Appeal said it was confident a fair hearing would be forthcoming. In response, Dotcom branded the NZ judiciary a “US owned dancing bear”.

    • Presidential Candidate Lawrence Lessig Steps Up To Assist Kim Dotcom

      Professor Lawrence Lessig has provided an expert opinion in support of Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload co-defendants. In submissions filed today in New Zealand, the Creative Commons co-founder and U.S. presidential candidate concludes that the U.S. DoJ has not made a case that would be recognized by United States federal law and be subject to the US – NZ Extradition Treaty.

    • Larry Lessig Tells New Zealand Court That DOJ’s Case Against Kim Dotcom Is A Sham

      As Kim Dotcom’s extradition case appears set to finally be heard (after many, many delays), Dotcom has brought in some interesting firepower. Presidential candidate and famed legal scholar Larry Lessig has submitted an affidavit that completely destroys the DOJ’s case. He argues not only that Dotcom’s actions do not amount to any sort of extraditable offense, but that they don’t even seem to be against US law at all. If you’ve been following the case at all, you know that under the US/New Zealand extradition treaty, copyright infringement is not an extraditable offense. That’s why the US has lumped in a bunch of questionable claims about “conspiracy” and “wire fraud.” But most of those are just repeating the infringement claims in different ways.

    • Kim Dotcom

      The position of the United States is extreme and wrong. We must resist this extremism. Aaron’s death must mean at least that.

    • Ben Carson’s Lawyer Threatens CafePress Because Ben Carson Supporters Are Creating T-Shirts Supporting Carson

      Politics and intellectual property always get weird and silly, often during Presidential election season. Following on last year’s insanity in which Hillary Clinton’s PAC tried to take down parodies on CafePress and Zazzle, presidential candidate Ben Carson has apparently decided no one should possibly be allowed to create any kind of Ben Carson merchandise, except for the Ben Carson PAC, and he’s decided to list out every possible intellectual property argument he can think of: copyright, trademark, privacy rights. I’m almost surprised he didn’t find a way to include patents too.

    • Don’t believe the Carly Fiorina hype: Here’s every major problem with her performance in the GOP debate

      It was Carly Fiorina’s night last night. In the very crowded Republican clown car full of fatuous blowhards and screaming hawks, she stood out by being able to think on her feet quickly enough to use standard lines from her well honed, road tested stump speech to good effect as if they were spontaneous answers to the question. Compared to the others she seemed sharp and well-informed and the media dubbed her the big winner.

      Fiorina has come a long way since the days of the “Demon Sheep.”

    • 5 Unbelievable Ways Rich Assholes Get To Cheat Through Life

      Some rich people don’t hoard their cash or flaunt it as a status symbol so much as they use it as a dirty green cheat code. If life was a video game, they’d be the asshole kid with the turbo controller who can’t ever lose. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to watch them have fun from the sidelines, vainly hoping we’ll get a chance to touch the Super Nintendo before Mom comes to pick us up. (“Mom” in this case means the Grim Reaper, if that wasn’t clear.)

      Nowadays, excessive riches can get you more than bigger houses and hired help. People are using it to buy stuff that really shouldn’t be buyable.

    • Having Lost The Debate On Backdooring Encryption, Intelligence Community Plans To Wait Until Next Terrorist Attack

      In other words, Litt admits that his side has lost this battle, but he doesn’t want the administration to come out totally against legislation, because, you know, if there’s an attack, then maybe the idiots in the public will finally accept the intelligence community shoving backdoors down their throat. After all, such a plan worked out pretty well with the PATRIOT Act, which took a bunch of bad and rejected ideas and rushed them into law. In fact, it’s almost amazing that the law enforcement community didn’t get backdooring encryption into the PATRIOT Act back in 2001 in the first place…

    • White House Realizes Mandating Backdoors To Encryption Isn’t Going To Happen

      Over the last few months, I’ve heard rumblings and conversations from multiple people within the Obama administration suggesting that they don’t support the FBI’s crazy push to back door all encryption. From Congress, I heard that there was nowhere near enough support for any sort of legislative backdoor mandate. Both were good things to hear, but I worried that I was still only hearing from one side, so that there could still be serious efforts saying the opposite as well. However, the Washington Post has been leaked quite a document that outlines three options that the Obama administration can take in response to the whole “going dark” question. And the good news? None of them involve mandating encryption. Basically, the key message in this document is that no one believes legislation is a realistic option right now (more on that in another post coming shortly).

    • Verizon’s Screwing New Jersey Even Harder Than Previously Believed

      We’ve previously discussed how in 1993 Verizon conned the state of New Jersey into giving the telco all manner of subsidies and tax breaks in exchange for a promise to wire the majority of the state with symmetrical fiber. Fast forward to 2015, most of New Jersey remains on aging DSL, and the state decided it would be a wonderful idea to simply let Verizon walk away from its obligations. Of course this isn’t new: Verizon’s regulatory capture allowed it to do the exact same thing in Pennsylvania, and it’s currently busy trying to dodge New York City FiOS build out requirements as well.

    • FCC: Sorry, No — Net Neutrality Does Not Violate ISPs’ First Amendment Rights

      Back when Verizon sued to overturn the FCC’s original, flimsier 2010 net neutrality rules, the telco argued that the FCC was aggressively and capriciously violating the company’s First and Fifth Amendment rights. “Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech,” Verizon claimed at the time. It’s an amusing claim given that the entire purpose of net neutrality is to protect the free and open distribution of content and data without incumbent ISP gatekeeper interference. Verizon ultimately won its case against the FCC — but not because of its First Amendment claim, but because the FCC tried to impose common carrier rules on ISPs before declaring they were common carriers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Back to Benghazi: How Not to Have a Debate About US Foreign Policy

      In the 2012 presidential election, the biggest foreign policy issue was the killing of the US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in September of that year–an incident known by its location: Benghazi. Now, as we gear up for the 2016 presidential race, it looks like the biggest international issue is going to be–Benghazi.

      The world is a big place, though you wouldn’t necessarily figure that out if you learned about it solely through electoral politics; in the debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and their running mates in 2012 (FAIR Media Advisory, 10/26/12), there were 14 questions raised about other countries, and only one of those questions (about China) had to do with anyplace outside the Middle East (broadly defined, from Pakistan to Libya). And three of the 14 questions had to do with Benghazi–as many questions as were asked about Afghanistan, where at the time the US had more than 60,000 troops engaged in a ground war.

    • VIDEO: Unbelievably clear drone footage of Damascus devastation

      Clear drone footage showing the ongoing Syrian army offensive against a rebel stronghold in Damascus.

    • Officials Claim CIA Drone War Against Syria a ‘Growing Success’

      The theory there is that if drones weren’t be launched willy-nilly at ISIS, they’d be more able to carry out major attacks, and thus the attacks are doing what they’re intended to do. Yet ISIS seems to continue to carry out major attacks across Syria on a regular basis, which makes these claimed results, like so many others, illusory.

    • Snowden And Ellsberg Hail Leak Of Drone Documents From New Whistleblower

      American whistleblowers hailed the release on Thursday of a collection of classified documents about US drone warfare as a blow on behalf of transparency and human rights.

      The documents anchored a multi-part report by the Intercept on the Defense Department assassination program in Yemen and Somalia. Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other rights groups said the report raised significant concerns about human rights violations by the US government, and called for an investigation.

    • Your Call: US Drone policy; Canada’s elections

      We’ll also talk about the new top-secret NSA documents detailing the US drone program, which were leaked to The Intercept. How are US media reporting on US drone policy? Join the conversation on the next Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.

    • 5 Disturbing Revelations in the New Drone Document Leak

      The above leak is a direct contradiction with President Barack Obama’s previous assertion to the American people that drone attacks have a “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” While it’s clearly not panning out that way, the U.S. has a solution for that: automatically labeling anyone killed by a drone attack an “enemy” rather than a civilian.

      If proof emerges that one of the killed was definitely an unaffiliated civilian, the U.S. will change the designation, but the country does not seem to be trying to reclassify anyone it doesn’t have to in order to keep the civilian count low. Though it’s true that at least some of the people adjacent to suspected terrorists are probably associated with these activities and not necessarily “innocent,” the fact is that they haven’t even first been vetted as potential threats.

    • Wandering Eye: Drone assassinations, ‘Artist’s Statements of the Old Masters,’ and more

      Jeremy Scahill opens The Intercept’s big whistle-blower-driven piece on the drone assassinations with an important point: What we’re doing is extrajudicial killings. Assassinations. The U.S. has always done these (and torture too, of course), but until recently we’ve tried at least to maintain what the spy guys call “plausible deniability.” No more. Now we just renamed them “targeted killings” and claim the victims are an “imminent threat.” And we define imminent as “in the foreseeable future, possibly.” And of course we make a list. Scahill’s source is not comfortable with it: “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source told Scahill. The problem is not just moral, though, it’s practical. We’re killing people who could provide useful information if they were captured instead. And we’re relying too much on “signals intelligence” (i.e. the vast data sweeps the NSA specializes in) instead of “human intelligence.” We’re doing this because it’s convenient for war fighters. Incidentally, The Intercept uses the headline “The Kill Chain.” That’s the same one City Paper used a few years back when we tried to trace drone research through and by Johns Hopkins. The idea is to bring even more convenience in the future with autonomous drones that kill without human input. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

    • Colombia’s Bittersweet Peace Deal

      The Colombian government and the continent’s mightiest and longest-surviving guerrilla army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, are set to finalize a bittersweet peace agreement next spring with no victors, millions of victims, and just enough justice to basically turn a page on decades of unrelenting bloodletting.

    • Canada will bow out of the air war in Iraq and Syria. But will the Liberals really end the combat mission?

      Of all the foreign problems facing prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau, the war in Syria and Iraq remains the most nettlesome.

      It is tied to almost everything.

      The Syrian refugee crisis that dominates headlines in Europe — and that made its way into the Canadian election campaign — is a direct result of that war.

      Canada’s fraught relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine is complicated by Moscow’s direct diplomatic and military involvement in Syria.

    • Tony Blair apologises for Iraq War mistakes and accepts invasion had part to play in rise of Islamic State

      Tony Blair has apologised for some of the mistakes that were made during the Iraq War, and says he recognises “elements of truth” behind opinion that the invasion caused the rise of Isil.

      In a candid interview with CNN, the former prime minister was challenged by US political broadcaster Fareed Zakar who accused Blair of being George Bush’s ‘poodle’ over the conflict.

    • Donald Trump’s baseless claim that the Bush White House tried to ‘silence’ his Iraq War opposition in 2003

      At The Fact Checker, we place the burden of proof on the speaker. Trump has not responded to repeated requests by us or other media outlets for proof of his early opposition to the invasion.

      Military action began on March 20, 2003. An extensive review of 2003 news coverage prior to March 20 surfaced just two references of Trump and his views on the invasion, as BuzzFeed News found during the GOP debate. The Huffington Post also wrote an analysis of Trump’s Iraq claims during the GOP debate, and again after Trump’s claims in October.

    • Veterans for Bernie Sanders: Why the anti-war candidate is so beloved by former soldiers

      When then-freshman Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders first arrived in Washington, D.C., he didn’t first tend to the great social democratic causes that he spent his life working on: a national living wage, health care for all, or expanding labor unions.

      Rather, the very first bill he introduced was H.R. 695 – the Guard and Reserve Family Protection Act of 1991. The purpose of the bill was to make sure that reserve and National Guard soldiers who were deployed to serve in the Gulf War were entitled to any pay they may have missed as a result of going to war, to ensure that their deployment wages were equal to their civilian wages.

    • TalkTalk hires BAE Systems to investigate cyber attack

      British broadband provider TalkTalk said on Sunday it had hired defense company BAE Systems to investigate a cyber attack that may have led to the theft of personal data from its more than 4 million customers.

    • Anderson Cooper: Opposing Illegal CIA Wars Is Unelectable

      A key reason that the US has so many wars is that big US media have a strong pro-war, pro-Empire bias.

    • Indonesia: 50 Years After the Coup and the CIA Sponsored Terrorist Massacre. The Ruin of Indonesian Society

      Last year, I stopped travelling to Indonesia. I simply did… I just could not bear being there, anymore. It was making me unwell. I felt psychologically and physically sick.

      Indonesia has matured into perhaps the most corrupt country on Earth, and possibly into the most indoctrinated and compassionless place anywhere under the sun. Here, even the victims were not aware of their own conditions anymore. The victims felt shame, while the mass murderers were proudly bragging about all those horrendous killings and rapes they had committed. Genocidal cadres are all over the government.


      After the 1965 coup backed by the US, Australia and Europe, some 2-3 million Indonesians died, in fact were slaughtered mercilessly in an unbridled orgy of terror: teachers, intellectuals, artists, unionists, and Communists vanished. The US Embassy in Jakarta provided a detailed list of those who were supposed to be liquidated. The army, which was generously paid by the West and backed by the countless brainwashed religious cadres of all faiths, showed unprecedented zeal, killing and imprisoning almost everyone capable of thinking. Books were burned and film studios and theatres closed down.

    • A CIA-Trained Tibetan Freedom Fighter’s Undying Hope for Freedom

      Ten years later, after he had completed his studies in Mussoorie in 1969, Tunduk volunteered for a secretive all-Tibetan unit in the Indian army called Establishment 22, which the U.S. CIA helped stand up and train when China attacked India in the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Tunduk went through six months of basic training, which included jump training taught by CIA instructors, whom Tunduk remembered as “blond and tall.”


      The Chinese soldiers tied Tunduk’s father’s arms and legs behind his back, beat him, and then shot him in the head. Next, they painted a target in charcoal on Tunduk’s mother’s chest, suspended her by her arms from two wood poles, and used her for target practice, pumping her body with bullets long after she was dead.

    • ‘Operation Ajax’ Illustrates How the CIA Destroyed Democracy in Iran

      Mohammed Mossadegh, Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, was the farthest thing from a Communist, but painting him as reliant on Communist support was pivotal to turning public support against him and to building support at home in the US for his overthrow. But to what end? Why did the US turn from a supporter of Iranian democracy under President Truman, to plotting its destruction and imposing a dictatorship under President Eisenhower? Was it simply a paranoid (and wholly inaccurate) fear of Communism? Was it the ambitious, power-seeking aspirations of US intelligence agencies, keen on building their power-base and budgets by engineering the perception of fake threats to the US? Was it US corporate desire to control Iranian oil, in the face of efforts by Iran’s democratic government to nationalize its own resources (long plundered by western countries)?

    • UW Human Rights Center will sue CIA for stonewalling information request on assassinations

      A University of Washington human rights project is suing the Central Intelligence Agency for refusing to declassify and turn over documents relating to the U.S. role in El Salvador’s civil war and involvement in massacres by a retired Salvadorian colonel who was for a time the favorite of Americans.

    • US law student sues CIA over Salvadoran civil war documents
    • UW law student sues CIA over data on Salvadoran Army officer
    • Theft of Files Relating to Lawsuit about CIA’s Support of Human Rights Violations in El Salvador
    • Five Historical Reasons to Believe the CIA Could Have Been Behind the Break-In at UW

      We’re not sure how a question can be true or false, but to suggest that it’s implausible for the CIA to have burgled a professor’s office is patently ridiculous. This is an agency that, for nearly seventy years, has drugged, kidnapped, tortured, assassinated, burgled and bungled its way through history, banking heavily on the fact that clandestine operations, by definition, lack strong oversight.

    • Confidential files on El Salvador human rights stolen after legal action against CIA
    • Research files on El Salvador stolen from human rights group suing CIA over El Salvador
    • Files Incriminating CIA Stolen From Center For Human Rights Office, Break-In Happened During CIA Head’s Visit
    • Obscure Human Rights Professor Thinks The CIA Probably Broke Into Her Office And Stole Hard Drive
    • Professor Who Sued CIA Finds Office Burglarized, Data Stolen
    • Files for El Salvador lawsuit against CIA stolen from university office
    • US NGO researching El Salvador abuses has files stolen

      The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Washington said in a statement published on its website that the break-in could have been in retaliation for its work, pointing out a number of peculiarities about the incident.

    • Wandering Eye: The sample behind Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling,’ more bad news for the DC poor, and more

      On Wednesday, the Stranger posted a fascinating blog titled, “Two Weeks After It Sued the CIA, Data Is Stolen from the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights.” In short, the UWCHR filed a lawsuit against the CIA looking for information about war crimes committed in El Salvador (earlier in the month, the Stranger published “The University of Washington Is Taking the CIA to Court: Seeking Justice for Survivors of a Massacre in El Salvador, the Center for Human Rights Is Suing the Agency Over Withholding Public Records,” by Ansel Herz) and then last weekend, someone broke into the Center For Human Rights’ director’s office and stole her desktop and a hard drive containing information pertaining to this case. On top of the whole thing just looking sketchy as hell, UWCHR pointed out that there was no forcible entry and that there were plenty of other computers in the building to steal and that this theft “parallels between this incident and attacks Salvadoran human rights organizations have experienced in recent years.” Herz asked the CIA if they had anything to do with the theft, and they denied it. Herz also pointed out that the CIA “is an agency that assassinates people with drones, tortured prisoners, has helped to carry out bloody coup d’etats, and whose analysts were accused of hacking and stealing the data of senators who were investigating the agency just last year.” (Brandon Soderberg)

    • ACLU demands CIA disclose drone program details after document leak

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pressed ahead on Monday with a lawsuit to compel the CIA to turn over basic details about the US program of clandestine drone warfare, a week after startling contours of the program emerged in a new leak by an anonymous intelligence source.

      The ACLU lawsuit seeks summary data from the CIA on drone strikes, including the locations and dates of strikes, the number of people killed and their identities or status. The ACLU also is seeking memos describing the legal reasoning underpinning the drone program.

    • Drone Disclosures, Official and Not

      As readers of this blog already know, last week The Intercept published a series of fascinating stories about the US drone campaign. The stories, and the official documents that accompany them, supply new details about the way the government chooses its targets, the way drone strikes are authorized, the way the government assesses civilian casualties, and the way the government judges the success or failure of individual strikes.

    • CIA pressed to disclose secret drone docs
    • Activist group to sue CIA over drone program

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has lodged a lawsuit compelling the CIA to turn over basic details about US drone strikes.

      The lawsuit was filed Monday a week after shocking contours of the program were revealed by an anonymous intelligence source.

    • CIA Pressured to Release Drone Strike Data in Fresh Lawsuit

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is pressing ahead with a lawsuit calling on the CIA to release crucial information about the US’ drone warfare program, amid calls for greater transparency into the intelligence agency’s actions.

    • US Advocacy Group Seeks CIA Video Tapes of Lethal Drone Strikes Released

      Advocacy group Consumers For Peace.org Director Nick Mottern claims that the videos of drone strikes launched by the US government against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria should be released to the public.

    • ACLU Files New Appeal in Drone Lawsuit

      The Central Intelligence Agency is under renewed legal pressure to release “thousands” of records pertaining to its international drone war, following an appeal filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties in Washington, D.C. The motion comes just days after The Intercept published an eight-part series based on cache of secret documents detailing the U.S. military’s parallel reliance on unmanned airstrikes in the war on terror.

    • Drone Papers Aftermath: ACLU Demands Secret Program Data

      The ACLU on Monday filed an appeal brief demanding that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hand over data on its secretive global drone program, including the identities of people killed by airstrikes carried out by the U.S. military in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

    • ACLU demands CIA disclose details on drone program after document leak

      The American Civil Liberties Union is pressing forward with a lawsuit against the CIA demanding the agency turn over details about the U.S. drone program after a massive document leak revealed startling details about how targets are chosen and the number of civilians that have been accidentally struck.

    • Mothers of CIA officers killed in Benghazi condemn use of sons’ deaths for political gain

      The mothers have condemned as “callous” a Republican-led advert using their sons’ legacies to try to destroy Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign

    • Why Americans Should Closely Watch Unfolding Events in Guatemala, Part 2

      Guatemala’s current situation and tragic history can be traced back to the CIA-led coup in 1954 that ousted the democratically elected government of President Jacobo Arbenz and installed the military dictator Carlos Armas. Arbenz was an advocate for land reform and was loved by the poor. The wealthy hated him. And when the CIA couldn’t bribe him, they ousted him in a most humiliating way. Even after he went into exile, the agency used constant disinformation to smear him in every way imaginable until his strange death in a bathtub in 1971.

    • CIA Nemesis Allende Elected In Chile

      Salvador Allende was elected Chile’s president on 24th October, 1970.

      An avowed Marxist, and the first socialist leader of the South American country, Allende’s election went on to trigger one of the most controversial, tragic periods in Chile’s history.

      The US response to Allende’s election revealed the extent to which the North American superpower was willing to get involved in South American politics. To this day, documents are still classified about what actions the White House sanctioned in Chile as a means to remove Allende.


      Democratically elected, Allende’s government was targeted by the United State’s for its socialist policies. Its successor, the dictatorship of Pinochet, was much more conservative, and allowed US investment back into Chile. It was also notorious for its brutal human rights violations.

    • 48 Years Since Che Guevara’s Execution by the CIA

      Guevara’s eyes were famously opened to the harsh reality of capitalism for those born less privileged than him when, as a medical student in his early 20s, he hopped on a motorcycle and went on a tour of South America. He found disease, destitution and illiteracy – along with the sort of compassion and generosity that appears to be inversely related to the amount of wealth one possess. From that point on, he labored to uplift the working class from Cuba to Guatemala to the Congo. And, although his death was premature, his legacy continues to serve as an inspiration to revolutionaries around the world today.

    • CIA chief’s emails expose Pakistan’s terror tactics in India

      The Wikileaks’ latest exposé on CIA Director John Brennan’s private emails reveals the role of Pakistan’s use of militant proxies for creating terror in India.

    • CIA Interventions in Syria: A Partial Timeline

      This partial timeline provides evidence that the U.S. government and Obama in particular bear a significant responsibility for the Syrian war and the results of that war. Obama approved elements of CIA plans that go back over 65 years. The CIA meddling is distinct from the Pentagon’s failed plan to train moderate rebels, not covered in this timeline.

    • CIA-Armed Rebels March On Assad Homeland

      Yesterday, two large rebel umbrella groups—Jaysh al-Fateh (Army of Conquest), a large consortium of Islamists which includes the official Syrian al-Qaeda franchise, and the Free Syrian Army, an admittedly catchall category but one that includes 39 CIA-vetted TOW recipients—announced a major counteroffensive.

    • Syria: Archbishop voices concern over CIA support for anti-Assad rebels

      Syrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo says he was disturbed to hear US Senator John McCain protesting that the Russians are not bombing the positions of the Islamic State, “but rather the anti-Assad rebels trained by the CIA.”

    • Iranians, Cubans and CIA-backed rebels: US media jumps on muddled Syria reports

      Citing activists and anonymous government sources, US media outlets claim that Russian airstrikes are deliberately targeting the US-backed rebels, as Iranian and even Cuban troops are streaming into Syria.

    • The CIA is supplying Syrian rebels with weapons to use against Russia

      The decision to help the rebels comes after growing frustration by the US with Russia, which has entered the war in support of Assad. While the US and Russia both agree that ISIS should be eradicated, the two countries do not agree on who should be in power in Syria.

    • Russian air strikes hit CIA-trained rebels, commander says

      Two Russian air strikes in Syria on Thursday hit a training camp operated by a rebel group that received military training from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, its commander said.

    • CIA Rebrands ‘Moderate’ Rebels: Now They’re the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’!
    • McCain accuses Russia of attacking CIA-backed Syrian rebels

      Russia on Thursday escalated its military engagement in Syria, with warplanes carrying out a second day of heavy airstrikes in the wartorn country, as U.S. critics hurled fresh accusations at Vladimir Putin’s intentions in the region.

      Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said that Russia is not focused on bombing Islamic State targets, and accused the country of targeting CIA-backed rebels seeking to topple Moscow’s ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    • USA draws a line on protecting CIA-backed rebels in Syria

      Moscow says it targets only banned terrorist groups in Syria, primarily Islamic State.

    • Asio chief defied Gough Whitlam’s order to cut ties with the CIA in 1974

      The chief of Australia’s domestic spy agency, Asio, defied a direct order from then Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1974 to sever all ties with America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

      Whitlam – hostile to US spy bases in Australia and angy with the CIA’s undermining of leftwing administrations, including Chile’s Allende government in 1973 – effectively forced the Washington-Canberra intelligence relationship underground until the dismissal of his government in late 1975.

      The decision by the director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Peter Barbour, to ignore Whitlam’s directive is revealed in the latest volume of Asio’s official history by historian and former army officer John Blaxland.

    • America enabled radical Islam: How the CIA, George W. Bush and many others helped create ISIS

      Since 1980, the United States has intervened in the affairs of fourteen Muslim countries, at worst invading or bombing them. They are (in chronological order) Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo, Yemen, Pakistan, and now Syria. Latterly these efforts have been in the name of the War on Terror and the attempt to curb Islamic extremism.

      Yet for centuries Western countries have sought to harness the power of radical Islam to serve the interests of their own foreign policy. In the case of Britain, this dates back to the days of the Ottoman Empire; in more recent times, the US/UK alliance first courted, then turned against, Islamists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. In my view, the policies of the United States and Britain—which see them supporting and arming a variety of groups for short-term military, political, or diplomatic advantage—have directly contributed to the rise of IS.

    • “Every president has been manipulated by national security officials”: David Talbot exposes America’s “deep state”

      This year’s best spy thriller isn’t fiction – it’s history. David Talbot’s previous book, the bestseller “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years” explored Robert F. Kennedy’s search for the truth following his brother’s murder. His new work, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” zooms out from JFK’s murder to investigate the rise of the shadowy network that Talbot holds ultimately responsible for the president’s assassination.

      This isn’t merely a whodunit story, though. Talbot’s ultimate goal is exploring how the rise of the “deep state” has impacted the trajectory of America, and given our nation’s vast influence, the rest of the planet. “To thoroughly and honestly analyze [former CIA director] Allen Dulles’s legacy is to analyze the current state of national security in America and how it undermines democracy,” Talbot told Salon. “To really grapple with what is in my book is not just to grapple with history. It is to grapple with our current problems.”

    • US must explain CIA visits to red villages

      During the past few years, CIA operatives stationed in Thailand were frequently visiting the red villages in the North and Northeast of Thailand. Why?

    • Find, Fix, Finish: The Drone Papers

      Soon after he was elected president, Barack Obama was strongly urged by Michael Hayden, the outgoing CIA director, and his new top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, to adopt the way of the scalpel — small footprint counterterrorism operations and drone strikes. In one briefing, Hayden bluntly told Obama that covert action was the only way to confront al Qaeda and other terrorist groups plotting attacks against the U.S.

    • Former FBI, CIA officials encourage residents to ‘ask the hard questions’

      “9/11 could have been prevented and there really is not just one way, there’s probably at least half a dozen ways 9/11 could have been prevented,” Rowley said. “For starters, the CIA had been tracking two of the hijackers since they met in Kuala Lumpur two years before 9/11. And after all these years we still don’t know the answer to that main question. Why was this information not shared?”

    • Whistleblower, former CIA analyst urge questioning of candidates’ foreign policy views

      Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern spoke to a full conference room at University Book & Supply as part of a nine-city Iowa tour dubbed “The Truth Shall Make You Free,” sponsored by the state’s three chapters of Veterans for Peace and 31 other organizations. They also spoke at the Waterloo Center for the Arts on Saturday.

    • John McAfee: US gov’t hack by China is an American nightmare — and the decline of an empire

      Our Founding Fathers feared democracy. From these fears, and in order to form a more perfect union, the Constitution and our Republic were born. This revolution in government was adopted in the wake of a tremendous fight for independence. Against all odds, our country was born out of a state of oppression and limited personal freedom. There are few points in history that exhibit such a level of individual responsibility and absolute freedom among the common man as there were during this Constitutional period.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Take that CIA and James Bond: Asterix loves Julian Assange!

      The US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has accused Australian Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the controversial anti-secrecy venture, of “malicious crime” in the leak of hacked emails of its director John Brennan. As the cult figure wanted in Sweden for questioning on a rape accusation, he says he is innocent. As he fights extradition from Ecuador’s diplomatically immune embassy in the UK, fiction lovers would logically expect James Bond to show up from somewhere in Her Majesty’s name.

    • Activists target Obama’s ‘Cheneyesque’ CIA director

      The CIA director is a prime target of attacks by civil libertarians and others concerned about privacy, torture and drone attacks.

    • WikiLeaks Releases Second Batch From CIA Boss John Brennan’s Email

      WikiLeaks released two more documents and a list of contacts from CIA Director John Brennan’s personal email account on Thursday — and again the material was neither classified nor revelatory.

      Six other documents were released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday, days after an anonymous hacker told the New York Post that he had gained access to Brennan’s AOL account. The account was also used by other members of the Brennan family.

    • FBI, Secret Service probe hack of CIA chief’s private emails

      The FBI and U.S. Secret Service have opened criminal inquiries into the hacking of a private email account used by CIA Director John Brennan and his family, the FBI said on Thursday.

      The investigations followed the posting on social media earlier this week by the hackers of data stolen from an AOL account. Intelligence officials said the account was used by Brennan and his family, but was not used to transmit or store government secrets.

    • Why Does Anyone Believe the CIA Chief’s Hackers Are Teens?

      Lots of headlines and news accounts are reporting that the people that hacked the AOL email account of CIA Director John Brennan are high-schoolers or teens, but the Observer could find little reporting on any effort to verify their ages.

    • Second batch of emails hacked from CIA director’s account reveals he warned of major flaws in US strategy for Afghanistan
    • ‘They can’t track us down’ – hackers who cracked CIA Director Brennan’s email to RT

      Part of a mysterious group of young hackers who stole confidential and work-related information from CIA Director John Brennan have spoken to RT, revealing why they targeted this senior official and what they’ve got planned for the future.

      The resulting embarrassment caused by the group who are believed to be in their early 20s, highlights not only the poor email security of a number of senior intelligence officials in the US, but also the secrets within – such as the security clearance application Brennan submitted to the CIA on enrollment, containing the most confidential information any person could wish to protect.

    • Secrecy and Hillary Clinton

      Over-classification of documents is the weapon of choice wielded by the U.S. government to punish whistleblowers and keep the American people in the dark about its actions around the world. But the well-connected, like Hillary Clinton, get special forbearance, notes Diane Roark.

    • This 19th-Century Invention Could Keep You From Being Hacked

      If the CIA’s Director John Brennan can’t keep his emails private, who can? Sadly, the fact that email and instant messaging are far more convenient than communicating via papers in envelopes or by actually talking on the phone, or (God forbid) face to face, these technologies are far more insecure. Could it be that the old ways protected both secrecy and privacy far better than what we have now?

    • Digital Dissidents

      Lauded as heroes by some, denounced as traitors by others, they’re the “digital dissidents” whose revelations have made headlines around the world.

      “Criticise me, hate me, but think about what matters in the issues. Right? Think about the world you want to live in.” Edward Snowden

      The decision by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to reveal covert US surveillance programs exposed the massive capabilities of the US spy agency to monitor communications around the globe.

    • WikiLeaks posts data from CIA director’s email account

      CIA director John Brennan reportedly used his AOL account to store possibly classified — or, at very least, sensitive — materials.

    • Wikileaks Doxxes CIA Chief’s Wife and Daughters

      It will go down as one of Wikileaks’ more astonishing achievements that it managed to turn the director of the CIA—a man who some have vilified as the architect of the drone wars and an endorser of torture—into a sympathetic character.

    • What We Learned From the CIA Director’s WikiLeaked Emails

      WikiLeaks has vowed to release what will likely be even more tedious personal information in the coming days.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • “World in Danger: Fukushima” November 18th

      Three molten nuclear reactor cores are still missing and the radioactive contamination that this 300 ton mass of ‘corium’ continues to generate & release shows no signs of abating, in fact is increasing.

    • Former Koch Industries Official Says He Ghostwrote Letters On Behalf of Congressmen [Ed: older]

      The LinkedIn profile of a former officer of the company lends credibility to that argument. In it, he boasts that as part of the Koch Industries’ communication team, he helped write opinion columns and letters that were signed by members of Congress.

      Richard Tucker, a former communications manager at Koch Industries from August 2010 thro
      ugh March 2012, wrote in his LinkedIn profile that he was responsible for “op-eds and letters to the editor that were signed by company leaders, members of congress and citizen activists.” Tucker, a writer and editor for a number of conservative websites, said he also wrote “regular blog posts for company employees to help explain important Washington policy debates” and was a member of the “crisis communication team that produced swift responses to negative press coverage.”

    • Chinese-built reactor at Bradwell could have ‘major impact’ on estuary

      Conservation charities have expressed alarm at plans for a Chinese-built nuclear power station in Essex, with one saying the plant could have “major impacts” on the estuary location, a haven for birds and marine life.

      The new reactor in Bradwell, on the heavily protected Blackwater estuary, east of Chelmsford, could be confirmed this week during a state visit to Britain by China’s president, Xi Jinping.

      The conservation concerns come on top of worries over the security implications of Chinese involvement in the UK nuclear industry.

  • Finance

    • Screw meritocracy: reward the lazy and stupid

      It is time to admit the truth: meritocracy is BS. What we really have is a system run by people who create arbitrary measures of worthiness to perpetuate a status quo, a power structure that benefits them. Getting rid of the system and replacing it with one in which everyone’s unique gifts are valued equally — that would be meritocratic.

    • F*** a Wage, Take Over the Business: A How-To with Economist Richard Wolff

      In this interview, we discuss wages, a pertinent current topic with the ongoing struggle for $15/hr, stagnating worker incomes, and what will be TPP’s further attack on wages in the United States. More importantly, what began as a discussion of wages quickly developed into a much broader critique of the current system’s political economy, and a way to fundamentally alter the way we produce, distribute, and consume. It is not enough to bargain with capitalists. We must instead look to how workers can take over the means of production and employ them for the benefit and wellbeing of all.

    • Wealth therapy is a sick joke: Meet the 1 percenters finding solace in wealth redistribution

      In a political and economic system seemingly tailor-made for the 1 percent, backlash against “wealth therapy” — the trend of moneyed Americans seeking counsel through their Occupy-induced feeling of shame and isolation — is well-placed. While the top 0.1 percent of families in the United States possess as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, money psychologist Jamie Traege-Muney moaned to The Guardian that the movement wrongly “singled out the 1 percent and painted them globally as something negative.”

      But a growing cadre of this statistical owning class are now crafting a healthier relationship to the rabble at their doorstep. Responding to Occupy and other movement moments, young people with wealth are organizing the resources of their peers and families to level the playing field — and support one another in the process.

    • Dying to work for Amazon: Where’s the outrage for the exploited, vulnerable temp workers who make Bezos’s empire run?

      Earlier this week, Amazon dragged itself back into the news with a retort to the New York Times over the paper’s scorching coverage: The two-months later response reminded people how devastating the Times’ story on the company’s white-collar workforce had been. That piece that chronicled a demoralized, overworked office staff in painful detail was surely revisited by many readers.

      But a new story about the way Amazon treats workers lower down the food chain is even more poignant: “The Life and Death of an Amazon Warehouse Temp,” in the Huffington Post, spends most of its time on one 29-year-old man who died while toiling in a Virginia “fulfillment center.” The story’s detailed look at the life of Jeff Lockhart Jr. helps humanize the piece. But overall, what the rigorously reported and sharply written story exposes is a larger crisis among low-wage workers: One that’s being very profitably exploited by temp companies.

      The majority of the story concerns Lockhart, who came in as an Amazon temp after being laid off at a building supply store. A burly, 300-pound guy who married his high school sweetheart – they had three children between them – he worked as a “picker,” taking orders from a handheld scanner. He was fast and good. The constant labor at the speeds required, perhaps, was not especially healthy for a man of his size. One winter morning about 2 a.m., he went to eat “lunch” in his car, called his wife, and went back to work. “Less than an hour later,” reporter Dave Jamieson writes, “a worker found Jeff on the third floor. He had collapsed and was lying unconscious in aisle A-215, beneath shelves stocked with Tupperware and heating pads.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • O’Reilly Now Denies He Compared Black Lives Matter To Nazis

      BILL O’REILLY: “Bill, I disagree with your comparison of Black Lives Matter to American Nazis.” [I] did not make that comparison, Talli. Didn’t make it. I asked if the Republican group — if a Republican group — embraced a radical group like Stormfront, would that be acceptable? In light of the Democrats not having a problem with Black Lives Matter? It’s all about radicalism.

    • Ouch! Megyn Kelly has no time for Jeb Bush: Fox News anchor dismisses him on 9/11 and Trump

      Jeb Bush has evidently never seen the memo given to George W. Bush in August 2001 about Osama bin Laden’s determination to attack the United States and perhaps hijack airplanes.

      He went on Fox News last night to criticize Hillary Clinton over #Benghazi, but Megyn Kelly wanted to know why it was right to criticize Clinton for the deaths in Libya, but not his brother for the deaths on September 11. He insisted there was no double standard.

      “Not at all because if someone had evidence that there was a pending attack, there was — a lot of investigations after 9/11, if there was evidence that there was an attack that was pending and no one acted, of course there were have been criticism, but that’s not the case.”

  • Censorship

    • Singaporean teen vlogger Amos Yee says he and Joshua Wong are ‘completely different’

      Singaporean teenage vlogger Amos Yee has said that he and Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong are completely different, to which Wong responded by saying that Yee was braver than himself. The comments came after an article on Fusion featured the pair and named them as examples of “a new generation of teen activists who are shaking up politics in Asia”.

    • COMMENT: Setting the bar on acceptable speech

      What would you show your in-laws? A doodle of Lee Kuan Yew and Margaret Thatcher in a compromising position, perhaps? Or maybe not, as Justice Tay Yong Kwang raised just such a scenario in court recently. When one of teen blogger Amos Yee’s lawyers argued that the drawing was not obscene because it did not contain any genitalia, Tay’s response was that an image need not be explicit to be obscene, and that it was unlikely a young man visiting his girlfriend’s parents would show his prospective in-laws such an image.

    • Curbing ‘slash and burn’ teen bloggers [Ed: The mouthpiece of the Singapore regime]
    • Hong Kong’s distinct advantage is freedom, but for how long?

      He was born and raised in Hong Kong, has worked in Hong Kong, the Mainland and the United States, and is currently working in Singapore at a top-notch multinational corporation.

      According to Kwok, many expatriates in Singapore (including himself) share this sentiment: “Singapore is a nice place for work but it can hardly be our home.”

      But in the present day, is Hong Kong much better? The factors that have historically made Hong Kong such a stellar success include its positioning as an international city; its high safety standards; the quality of its workforce; its trusted systems and institutions; and a simple tax regime. But these advantages are fading and Singapore has outpaced Hong Kong in almost all of them. Even local tycoon Li Ka-shing has reportedly drawn up a “Plan B” to move at least part of his empire out of Hong Kong, and has asked Hong Kong to learn from Singapore.

    • Oxford University in censorship row as police seize copies of ‘offensive’ student magazine

      Oxford University is embroiled in a censorship row after police confiscated 150 copies of a controversial student magazine.

      The officers were called by student union leaders who claimed the No Offence magazine might upset rape victims and people from ethnic minorities.

      Editor Jacob Williams said he was prevented from distributing the magazines. He feared being arrested as Thames Valley Police decided whether he had committed a crime, but they have now decided that no further action will be taken.

    • Like oil and water, censorship and writers festivals don’t mix

      Warning not to hold sessions dedicated to honouring the victims of the mass killings of 1965 accompanied issuing of festival permit.

    • Censorship pressure is on: Writers Festival cancels sessions on 1965 killings

      Less than a week before the festival kicks off, organizers for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) were forced to cancel a series of events discussing Indonesia’s controversial 1965 killings.

    • Netizen Report: Uganda Vows to Step Up Online Censorship

      A series of recent stories on Internet policy in Uganda paints a grim picture of the online-speech environment in the country. On October 6, Internal Affairs Minister James Baba announced plans to enforce new regulations governing the use of social media for Ugandans. Little more is known about the regulations at present, but the bill likely bodes poorly for Uganda’s tense speech environment. Advocates at Unwanted Witness, a local human rights and free expression organization, worry that the law will compound the chilling effects of already-existing cyber laws in the country such as the Computer Misuse Act, the Anti-Pornography law and the Communications Act.

    • Uber CEO accuses Chinese messaging app WeChat of censorship

      Chief executive Travis Kalanick claimed messaging app WeChat, whose owners invest in Uber rival Didi Kuaidi, blocks Uber-related news

    • Ukraine’s New Banned Websites Registry: Security Measure or Censorship Tool?

      When Ukraine’s Interior Minister announced the initiative to form a new cyberpolice unit on October 11, the focus of the media coverage—and of Minister Avakov’s statement—was very much on fighting online crime and beefing up the information security practices of the Ukrainian government. The launch was touted as successful, with over three thousand Ukrainians applying to join the cyberpolice force in the first 24 hours after the announcement. But amid the robust response to plans for the cybercrime unit, an arguably less popular element of the initiative flew under many Ukrainians’ radars.

    • Yemen rebels using Canadian software to censor Internet, report finds

      A Canadian software company is helping Yemen’s Houthi rebels expand the country’s Internet censorship regime in the midst of a bloody civil war, according to a new report from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.

    • Researchers Accuse Canadian Internet Company of Helping Yemen Censor the Web

      The Yemeni civil war, which has killed more than 5,400 people in seven months, has been fought not only on the streets, but online as well.

      Houthi rebels, who have forced the government into exile, have been using technology provided by Canadian internet-filtering company Netsweeper to indiscriminately censor large swaths of the internet critical of the rebel group, according to new research.

    • Canadian Internet-filtering company accused of aiding censorship in war-torn Yemen

      Researchers at the Citizen Lab, an Internet-monitoring project at the Munk School of Global Affairs, say technology sold by Waterloo-based Netsweeper Inc. is increasingly being used to restrict access to websites on Yemen’s state-owned internet service provider, YemenNet.

    • ‘Liberal academics let censorship happen’
    • New research shows Twitter drastically under-reports its censorship

      Twitter “radically under-reports” censorship by Turkey, one of the world’s most prolific Internet censors, according to new research from the Association of Computing Machinery.

      Rocked by domestic and international unrest as well as an increasingly authoritarian government, Turkey’s government has in recent years frequently turned to mass censorship as an answer to unsolved political problems.

    • Coalition calls on Turkey to protect press freedom

      Following the conclusion of an Oct. 19 to 21, 2015 joint international emergency press freedom mission to Turkey, representatives of participating international, regional and local groups dedicated to press freedom and free expression find that pressure on journalists operating in Turkey has severely escalated in the period between parliamentary elections held June 7 and the upcoming elections.

    • Crackdown on media increases with new detentions, attacks, censorship, report says
    • Satellite operator’s political censorship hurts Turkey’s image, warn diplomats

      Former ambassadors and prominent politicians have warned against satellite operator Türksat AS’s censorship of Bugün TV, Kanaltürk, Samanyolu TV, S Haber, Mehtap TV, Irmak TV and Yumurcak TV, citing negative implications for the country’s image abroad, as well as violations of international law.

    • Court creates ‘preventive censorship’ to halt Nokta publication of AK Party meeting minutes
    • Censorship looms amid rise of Hindu nationalism in India

      In the last few weeks, at least 40 Indian writers have returned top literary prizes in protest of what they call a “climate of intolerance”. Novelists, poets and playwrights say that since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party came to power with the election of Prime Minister Modi, the country has seen a rise in Hindu nationalism that has led to less freedom of speech and respect for secular rights. Writer Sonia Faleiro, and Wendy Doniger, whose book on Hindus was withdrawn from publication in India, join us to discuss the current climate in India.

    • Egypt’s Censorship Authority questions Morgan Freeman’s presence in Egypt

      Egypt’s Censorship Authority contacted the Egypt’s National Security Agency asking to clarify the legal status of the Story of God crew’s presence in Cairo.

      The film is produced by National Geographic Channel with renowned American actor Morgan Freeman as its executive producer and host.

    • PNG government accused of censorship as it moves to crack down on social media dissent

      Papua New Guinea’s government is preparing to crack down on people who use social media sites to criticise politicians.

    • Book Banning in… New Jersey?

      It turns out that some people decided to celebrate the end of Banned Books Week at the beginning of this month by… well, trying to remove books from schools.

      We saw some two cases in New Jersey that demonstrated, once again, that some parents and administrators think the way to deal with literature that some find offensive is to get it out of the schools as fast as possible.

    • Voluntary Practices and Rights Protection Mechanisms: Whitewashing Censorship at ICANN

      Perhaps the toughest challenge facing any putatively multi-stakeholder governance process is its capture by vested interests. ICANN is a textbook illustration of this. Ever since its formation, public interest advocates have been engaged in a struggle to assert their influence within ICANN against an onslaught of intellectual property lobbyists, intent on stacking every committee and process with their own trademark, copyright and patent lawyers.

      IP owners have attempted to subvert the ICANN policy process by introducing vague language into ICANN’s contracts and then seeking to reinterpret them as mandates for draconian IP enforcement without court supervision. A key event was the introduction of a 2013 revision to ICANN’s agreement with registrars, that requires them to take unspecified enforcement measures against those who “abuse” domain names. This has led to demands from copyright and pharma interests that registrars cancel domain names allegedly used to host or sell allegedly infringing content, side-stepping the small issue of such allegations actually being reviewed by a court.

    • Portugal’s journalists under pressure from Angolan money

      In their search to invest their oil and diamond money in Europe, the Angolan oligarchy has bought strategic positions in the Portuguese media in recent years — a bid to gain prestige while silencing news concerning endemic corruption and human rights violations of the regime headed by José Eduardo dos Santos for the past 36 years

    • Internet censorship in Russia

      Russia has already blocked over 10,000 internet sites, describing them as propaganda for terrorism or pornography. But pages critical of the Kremlin have also been “deleted”.

    • South Africa’s “biggest protests since apartheid”

      South Africa’s government seeks to ban a hashtag as thousands of students protest about fees

    • Sloppy U.N. Cyberviolence Report Uses Damsels in Digital Distress to Cheer Censorship

      Why did the U.N. feel justified in recommending such illiberal censorship policies while providing such shoddy evidence to back their claims?

    • Joking About Syria on Venmo Will Get You in Trouble With Security

      When told at the wrong place at the wrong time, certain jokes can get you into big trouble. Jokes about sex at work. Jokes about bombs in an airport. And now: jokes about government conspiracies on Venmo.

    • Don’t Joke About Syria on Venmo Unless You Want to Get Flagged
    • Venmo investigates joke payment that mentions Syria
    • The Words That Will Get You in Trouble on Venmo
    • You probably shouldn’t crack jokes about Syria when you’re making a Venmo payment
    • Don’t Joke Around When Sending Venmo Payments
    • Artist Ai Weiwei banned from using Lego to build Australian artwork

      Chinese artist says toy company told him it ‘cannot approve the use of Legos for political works’ ahead of exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria

    • How free is the press in Germany?

      The Press Freedom Index 2015, published by Reporters Without Borders, ranks Germany 12th in terms of press freedom. The working environment for journalists is sound, according to their report. However, journalists researching far-right political issues are reported to be monitored by the federal government. If the data storage law is passed, that could push down Germany’s future ranking on the Press Freedom Index.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Talking Tough to Turkey

      When suicide bombers killed at least 97 people at a rally of pro-Kurdish activists and civic groups advocating peace between the Turkish government and the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Ankara on October 10, the government’s response was as rapid as it was troubling. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu swiftly imposed a temporary broadcast ban on images of the terror attack, and many in the country reported that Twitter had been blocked on some of the most widely used mobile networks, including Turkcell and TTNET.

    • U.N. Report Calls on Governments to Protect Whistleblowers Like Snowden, Not Prosecute Them

      The U.N. envoy charged with safeguarding free speech around the globe has declared in a dramatic new report that confidential sources and whistleblowers are a crucial element of a healthy democracy, and that governments should protect them rather than demonize them.

      The report by David Kaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, also highlights the harsh treatment of whistleblowers in the U.S., most notably former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is living in Russia as fugitive from the U.S. government.

    • Has the “war on terror” turned us into the enemy?

      It’s hard to imagine a single American willing to shell out money to see a political documentary who doesn’t already know nearly everything they’ll be told in Imminent Threat, Janek Ambros’s omnibus about governmental overreach in the post-9/11 world. Certainly one could argue that the shortage of meaningful action on domestic spying, remote-control killing and suppression of dissent proves that more citizens must voice their disapproval. But this crudely crafted film will be one of the least effective voices in that ongoing debate; only the support of actor James Cromwell, who lends his name here as exec-producer, gives the doc a chance of attracting more than the usual rabble-rousing crowd.

    • Xi Jinping protesters arrested and homes searched over London demonstrations

      Dissidents from China and Tibet have accused British police of a significant overreaction after they were arrested under public order laws and had their houses searched following peaceful protests against the visiting Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

      Shao Jiang, a survivor of the Tiananmen Square massacre now based in the UK, said he was shocked to be tackled by police after holding placards in front of Xi’s motorcade in London, and to learn his home had been searched and computers seized while he was in custody.

    • Prison phone companies fight for right to charge inmates $14 a minute

      The Federal Communications Commission is about to face another lawsuit, this time over a vote to cap the prices prisoners pay for phone calls.

      Yesterday’s vote came after complaints that inmate-calling companies are overcharging prisoners, their families, and attorneys. Saying the price of calls sometimes hits $14 per minute, the FCC has now capped rates at 11¢ per minute.

    • Civil Rights Groups Welcome FCC Ruling On Prison Phone Fees

      On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that fees charged to inmates and their families for phone calls made from prison were “unconscionable and egregious.” The agency set caps for the first time on local and intrastate long distance calls, while further cutting fees for interstate calls. In some states, such calls once cost as much as $17 for a 15-minute conversation with added fees included; now, such calls will be capped at 11 cents per minute in state and federal prisons, only going as high as 22 cents per minute in small jails. Pricey add-ons, such as automated payments and paper-bill fees, have also been reined in significantly.

    • Wife of Missouri-born jailed ex-CIA whistleblower asks Obama for pardon
    • How “Progressive Media” Go Wrong: the Case of Jeffrey Sterling
    • Unprecedented News Conference: Wife of Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower to Speak Out
    • Wife Of Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower Looks To Obama For Pardon
    • Wife of convicted former CIA spy asks President Obama for pardon
    • Breaking Silence, Wife of Jailed CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Seeks Presidential Pardon
    • Jeffrey Sterling’s Selective Prosecution Exposes CIA Double Standards

      Holly Sterling, the wife of a former CIA officer convicted of leaking details about a botched CIA plan to give flawed nuclear blueprints to Iran, has asked President Barack Obama to pardon her husband who was targeted for prosecution after accusing the CIA of racial discrimination and taking his concerns about the Iran scheme to congressional authorities.

      In a 14-page letter to President Obama, Holly Sterling recounted the personal nightmare of the US government’s relentless pursuit of her husband, Jeffrey Sterling, an African-American, after an account of the Iran operation – codenamed Operation Merlin – appeared in State of War, a 2006 book by New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • It’s Illegal To Tell the Truth

      John Kiriakou is an American patriot who informed us of the criminal behavior of illegal and immoral US “cloak and dagger” operations that were bringing dishonor to our country. His reward was to be called a “traitor” by the idiot conservative Republicans and sentenced to prison by the corrupt US government.

    • How the government scapegoats hackers to justify violating your privacy

      The anonymous hacker is quickly replacing the terrorist as the go-to bogeyman in the American cultural imagination. Like Islamist radicals, the kinds of hackers that have brought down the servers of corporate giants and government agencies are mysterious and stealthy, spreading fear and paranoia from a faraway land.

    • Jesselyn Radack speaks out for whistleblowers (transcript)

      “The Obama Administration has presided over the most draconian crackdown on national security and intelligence whistleblowers in US history.” Jesselyn Radack is the Yale graduate who defends those whistleblowers in court. She spoke out for Jeffrey Sterling at the National Press Club last week. Here is the video and transcript.

    • Topless Femen protesters ‘kicked during scuffles’ at Muslim conference about women

      Two topless feminist protesters from Femen have stormed the stage of a conference discussing women in Islam.

      A video of the incident appears to show one of the activists being kicked by a man as she is hauled off stage at the event in France.

      The two women are from the Femen activist group, whose members are known for protesting topless with writing across their chest.

    • Black Lives Matter: The Real War On Terror

      Journalist Ashoka Jegroo says that the movement against racialized police brutality aims to challenge state-sanctioned terror.

      It’s been more than a year since the murders of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island at the hands of police. But the fire lit by their unjust deaths has yet to be extinguished. And once again, people are protesting.

    • Feds announce drone registration system

      The Federal Aviation Administration along with the Transportation Department has announced a drone regulation system requiring recreational drone users to register their devices, according to news outlets.

    • Police obtained Hager data without court order
    • Is This America? Chicago Police Detain Thousands of Black Men in Homan Square, CIA-Style Facility

      Is This America? Chicago Police Detain Thousands of Black Men in Homan Square, CIA-Style Facility

    • FBI Director Defends Baltimore Spy Flights, Says It’s Helpful To Know “Where Are People Gathering”

      FBI Surveillance flights over Baltimore and Ferguson as residents of those cities engaged in civil disobedience against racially-motivated police violence were lawful and useful, bureau Director James Comey claimed Thursday.

      Comey said that the missions were flown at the behest of local law enforcement in each case, as demonstrations raged against the killings of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray by city cops.

    • F.B.I. Chief Links Scrutiny of Police With Rise in Violent Crime

      The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Friday that the additional scrutiny and criticism of police officers in the wake of highly publicized episodes of police brutality may have led to an increase in violent crime in some cities as officers have become less aggressive.

    • CIA Agent Convicted in Italy for Kidnapping Detained in Portugal
    • Former CIA Operative Sabrina De Sousa Arrested in Portugal

      Sabrina De Sousa, a former CIA operations officer who was convicted in absentia along with other agency personnel for her role in a 2003 plot to kidnap a suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist in Italy, has been detained in Portugal.

    • Nicky Byrne: ‘I thought CIA torture story was a joke from Waterford Whispers’
    • This is why the CIA used Westlife to interrogate prisoners

      You might well enjoy hearing the ballad a few times in a day. But full volume continuously for days on end?

    • CIA Torture Update: German Human Rights Group Files Complaint Against Alfreda Frances Bikowsky In Khaled El-Masri Case
    • German human rights group files complaint against CIA ‘Queen of Torture’
    • ACLU sues CIA contractors on behalf of torture victims
    • Here the rain never finishes: exclusive CIA torture report from the ACLU – video
    • Torture by another name: CIA used ‘water dousing’ on at least 12 detainees
    • CIA Torture Update: Water Dousing Used On At Least 12 Detainees
    • Torture By Another Name: CIA Misled About ‘Water Dousing’
    • John Kiriakou will be at UNC-Chapel Hill on Tuesday night
    • Psychologists who devised CIA torture programme sued

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued writs against two psychologists who devised the CIA’s Bush-era interrogation programme on Tuesday (13 October), saying they encouraged the agency “to adopt torture as official policy”.

      James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two former military psychologists, “designed the torture methods and performed illegal human experimentation on CIA prisoners to test and refine the programme,” the ACLU said in a statement. “They personally took part in torture sessions and oversaw the programme’s implementation for the CIA,” it added. ACLU also said the men enriched themselves to the tune of millions of dollars in the process.

    • CIA Prisoners Sue Psychologists Over Torture Contracts
    • Psychologists from Spokane Helped CIA to Set Up Its Interrogation Program
    • Cornell Professor Says Lawsuit Overdue Against Architects of CIA Detention Program
    • Psychologists Accused of “Criminal Enterprise” With CIA Over Torture
    • ACLU Sues Two Psychologists For Developing CIA Interrogation Program

      DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: The two psychologists named in the ACLU’s lawsuit are former CIA contractors James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen.

    • CIA tortures: Will US be held accountable?

      There is a likelihood the CIA will sooner or later be brought to justice in the US and internationally for its brutal interrogation techniques, Ben Davis a member of the Advocates for US Torture Prosecutions told RT.

      Several letters from the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have been revealed by WikiLeaks. In one of them vice chairman Christopher Bond suggests that agencies should be able to use any interrogation means available to them, without waiting for explicit approval. Bond also suggests methods which should be prohibited.

    • EU countries faulted for not probing CIA renditions

      EU countries have not done enough to investigate the CIA’s detention, torture and rendition programs in Europe, MEPs were told Tuesday.

      The debate in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee included testimony from activists critical of EU member countries’ responses to revelations in a 2014 report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    • German torture case against CIA official

      The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) on Oct. 19 filed a criminal complaint against a high-ranking CIA official for mistreatment of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen who was detained and allegedly tortured for four months in 2003. El-Masri was on vacation in Macedonia when he was mistaken for Khalid al-Masri, a suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. El-Masri was then transported to Afghanistan where he was detained and questioned for four months under the direction of Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. At the time, Bikowsky was deputy chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Bin Laden Issue Station. ECCHR asserts in the complaint that the US Senate Torture Report ties Bikowsky to el-Masri’s detention, and ECCHR requests that the German federal prosecutor investigate.

    • Former CIA Interrogator Forced to Resign From College Post

      The Newsweek article focused on Martine’s relationship to the notorious November 2003 death of a captured terrorist suspect in Iraq known as “the Iceman,” because his corpse was put on ice and hooked up to an IV to make it look as if he were still alive when he was removed from Abu Ghraib prison. It also noted that Martine and other former interrogators had been repeatedly investigated by the CIA’s internal watchdog as well as a federal grand jury and neither charged nor exonerated.

    • The Small Brooklyn Publisher That Brought The CIA Torture Report To The World

      Dennis Johnson remembers a Melville House staff meeting on a Tuesday morning last winter, smack in the middle of the publishing industry’s busy holiday season. It was Dec. 9, and a few hours south of the publishing house’s Brooklyn office, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was having a triumphant moment. After years of uphill battles, she was finally publicly releasing part of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s grueling interrogation report, an extended, often stomach-churning look at the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program.

      It was a long-awaited publication, a culminating moment in a yearslong political battle and a sobering day of reckoning for the American public. Except no one outside the Government Printing Office wanted to touch it.

    • CIA Interrogation Methods Continue To Come Under Fire

      It looks like it will take a lot to finally stop the CIA’s use of torture techniques. Hopefully this stint will force them to reinvent and polish their approach to gathering intelligence.

    • Bob Marley Now Soothes Man Who Was Allegedly Tortured With Westlife by the CIA

      Suleiman Abdullah Salim says he listens to Bob Marley to help cope after undergoing what a new American Civil Liberties Lawsuit alleges were unlawful CIA interrogation techniques that included the use of music as torture.

    • REVEALED: The boom and bust of the CIA’s secret torture sites

      In spring 2003 an unnamed official at CIA headquarters in Langley sat down to compose a memo. It was 18 months after George W Bush had declared war on terror. “We cannot have enough blacksite hosts,” the official wrote. The reference was to one of the most closely guarded secrets of that war – the countries that had agreed to host the CIA’s covert prison sites.

      Between 2002 and 2008, at least 119 people disappeared into a worldwide detention network run by the CIA and facilitated by its foreign partners.

      Lawyers, journalists and human rights organisations spent the next decade trying to figure out whom the CIA had snatched and where it had put them. A mammoth investigation by the US Senate’s intelligence committee finally named 119 of the prisoners in December 2014. It also offered new insights into how the black site network functioned – and gruesome, graphic accounts of abuses perpetrated within it.

    • Romania Backs ‘Secret CIA Jails’ Probe

      “There is no further evidence that Romania was complicit in the CIA’s covert detention programme. We stand by the conclusion of the parliamentary inquiries, which uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing. And no new evidence has emerged in the meantime,” MP Marius Obreja, the head of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, said on Saturday.

    • CIA’s European Prisons Back in the Spotlight
    • Romania Denies Complicity With CIA-Led Secret Detention Program
    • CIA: There Was a JFK Assassination Cover-Up

      At some point in the fall of 2014 the CIA quietly said, ‘we’ll just leave this here’ and published a bombshell PDF of a declassified article on George Washington University’s National Security Archive. The 2013 piece by CIA Chief Historian David Robarge is titled “[Director of Central Intelligence] John McCone and the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” and it basically admits that McCone—appointed by JFK to head the agency—was a little squirrelly in his testimony before the Warren Commission.

    • Yes, the CIA director was part of the JFK assassination cover up
    • Former CIA director was part of a ‘benign cover-up’ to withhold information from investigators about JFK’s assassination

      A former CIA director withheld information about President John F Kennedy’s assassination, according to declassified agency reports.

      The CIA reports, which were declassified last fall, claim that then-agency head John McCone and other top officials were part of a ‘benign cover-up’ surrounding the assassination of Kennedy in November 1963.

      The report’s author, CIA historian David Robarge, claims McCone withheld information to keep the Warren Commission focused on what the agency believed to by the ‘best truth… that Lee Harvey Oswald, for as yet undetermined motives, had acted alone,’ according to Politico.

    • The US is No ‘Safe Harbor’ for Citizens’ Data

      What happens to your Facebook data — your identity information, photos, links and “likes” — when you share it outside of the US? Plenty. Your data will flow from your computer, to the nearest servers of the company, and eventually land at Facebook’s home servers in California, where it will likely be mined by Facebook for commercial gain and subject to snooping by the NSA.

      What laws protect your information along the way? Not many. But a recent court ruling should change this for European Internet users.

      Until this month, a “Safe Harbor” regulatory policy agreement between the US and EU allowed companies like Facebook and Google to self-regulate the transfer of data between Europe and the US. It is now formally dead. Unilaterally approved by the European Commission in 2000, the policy allowed companies to promise that they would abide by EU privacy laws when handling the data of EU persons, without needing to provide explicit proof of their compliance. Among other things, it required companies to notify users of the collection and use of their data, allow them to opt out of its collection or transfer, and keep it secure.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Closing the Loopholes in Europe’s Net Neutrality Compromise

      Since our last update on the upcoming net neutrality regulation in the European Union, a further compromise proposal has been developed, which heads to a vote in the European Parliament on Tuesday next week. On its face, the draft regulation appears to hit all the most important points, including providing that “When providing internet access services, providers of those services should treat all traffic equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender or receiver, content, application or service, or terminal equipment”.

    • European net neutrality threat needs urgent action, says US lawyer

      IT IS PANIC STATIONS across the Atlantic as the good people of America wake up to the threat to net neutrality in Europe.

      A sage lawyer, Barbara van Schewick, is warning about a vote in the European Parliament next week designed to preserve net neutrality, saying that it is likely to fall in such a way that reflects badly on trade and communications.

      Van Schewick, who is professor of law and director of Stanford Law School’s Centre for Internet and Society, said that parliament members have a few days to get their heads in order and adopt what she called “key amendments”.

    • EU net neutrality goes on the chopping block next week: Here’s how to fix it

      On Tuesday next week, October 27, the European Parliament will vote in Strasbourg on rules that are supposed to protect net neutrality in the EU. The proposed text emerged from the so-called “trilogue” meeting between the European Commission, European Parliament, and the EU Council held in June to reach a “compromise” text taking into account the differing views held by the three institutions. However, there are serious problems with the compromise rules, and in the run-up to the vote next week, digital activists are urging the public to contact MEPs to ask them to support amendments that will fix the main issues.

    • Slate Informs Its Readers That Confusing, Unnecessary, Anti-Competitive Broadband Usage Caps Are Simply Wonderful

      For years we’ve explained that broadband usage caps are a horrible idea. Not only do they hinder innovation and confuse the hell out of customers — but they simply aren’t necessary on modern, intelligently-managed networks. Caps are an inelegant and impractical way to handle congestion, and U.S. broadband consumers already pay some of the highest prices for broadband in the developed world (2015 OECD data), more than covering the cost of running a network (as any incumbent ISP earnings report can attest).

    • Google Partnering With Indian Railways To Provide Wi-Fi Hotspots: Report

      Internet access will be free for passengers after the system verifies a user’s mobile number with a one-time password sent by text message. However, only the first 30 minutes of usage will be on high-speed Internet, Telecom Talk reported.

    • “Killswitch” Documentary Is a Terriyfing Look at the Battle for Control of the Internet

      The Internet is many things, but above all it is power. The power to communicate and connect, to document and share. And like any source of power, there is a battle over who gets to control it. Every day in the headlines, we see the war over net neutrality between governments, private enterprise, hackers, and activists waging. At the core, it is a battle to preserve freedom of communication and protect the population from government surveillance.

    • The Web is Gummed Up

      This is a sad story to write, but it’s been percolating in the back of my mind for months if not years: The World Wide Web is gummed up with crap. This realization came into sharp focus today when I visited some media sites like cbc.ca and my CPU utilization when up to 100% and stayed there. Exactly why firefox was using so much CPU was a bit of a mystery. I had autoplay in firefox turned off, and there didn’t appear to be any reason why the CPU should be maxed out.

    • Urgent: Net Neutrality in EU under Threat; Please Write to your MEPs Now

      The long saga of net neutrality in the EU is approaching its end, and things aren’t looking good. The compromise text contains some huge loopholes, which I’ve written about elsewhere. The key vote is on Tuesday, so there’s still time for EU citizens to write to their MEPs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Nina Paley Argues Why Copyright Is Brain Damage

        We first wrote about Nina Paley in 2009, upon hearing about the ridiculous copyright mess she found herself in concerning her wonderful movie Sita Sings the Blues. While she eventually was able to sort out that mess and release the film, she also discovered that the more she shared the film, the more money she made, and she began to question copyright entirely. She originally released the film under a ShareAlike license, promising to go after people who didn’t uphold the ShareAlike parts, but then moved to a full public domain dedication and has become quite vocal in recent years about not supporting any kind of copyright and even raising some important concerns about many forms of Creative Commons licenses.

      • The Pirate Party Is Now More Popular in Iceland than the Government

        The Pirate Party, a movement founded in Sweden nine years ago, is continuing to surge across Europe, now surpassing Iceland’s local coalition government in recent polls.

        The Pirates have been ahead in the polls for several months now, according to the Iceland Monitor. In March, the party was at 23.9 percent, making it the most popular party in the country. Now, at 34.2 percent, the Pirates have surged past the country’s current coalition Government, which includes the Independence Party at 21.7 percent and the Progressive Party at 10.4 percent.

      • Filmmaker Unions Want to Criminalize Streaming Piracy

        Two prominent filmmaker unions are urging the government to criminalize streaming piracy. The labor unions describe streaming as the preferred viewing experience and argue that those who stream copyrighted movies without permission should face prison.

      • Warning Illegal Downloaders is Too Expensive, Record Labels Complain [Ed: quite old]

        New Zealand’s three-strikes anti-piracy law is turning into a huge disappointment for copyright holders. The costs that are involved with sending warning notices and pursuing cases at the copyright tribunal are proving to be too expensive. As a result, only one file-sharer was punished this year.

      • Nintendo Hates You: Massive Takedowns Of YouTube Videos Featuring Mario Bros. Fan-Created Levels

        As of late, Nintendo’s relationship with YouTube and the YouTube community has been, shall we say, tumultuous. After rolling out a bad policy to share revenue with YouTubers on the basis that those personalities torpedo their reputations by promising only positive Nintendo coverage, claiming the monetization for a large number of “let’s play” videos uploaded by independent YouTubers, and even going so far as to lay claim to the review of a Nintendo game created by well-known YouTuber “Angry Joe”, Nintendo clearly seems to believe that YouTube is not so much an independent community as it is some kind of official public relations wing for the company. This is really dumb on many different levels, but chiefly it’s dumb because it breeds ill-will amongst fans, of which Nintendo used to have many.

      • Time To Say Goodbye To All Pre-1972 Music?

        As we’ve been covering over the past few years, there’s been a big battle going on over the copyright status of “pre-1972 sound recordings.” That may sound like a weird thing to be arguing over, but it’s due to a weird bit of history in US copyright law. You see, for a very long time, Congress believed that copyright law could not cover sound recordings. However, various states stepped in and either through explicit state law or through common law, created copyright-like regulations for sound recordings. When copyright was finally updated in the 1976 Copyright Act, pre-1972 works were left out of the federal copyright system, even as federal copyright law basically wiped out all state copyright law for everything else. This has created some weird issues, including that some songs that should be in the public domain under federal copyright law are locked up in perpetuity. A simple and reasonable solution to this would be to just move pre-1972 sound recordings under federal copyright law and level the playing field. But, the RIAA has resisted this. That might seems strange, until you realize that the RIAA and its friends saw this weird quirk of copyright law as a wedge issue with which to try to squeeze more money out of everyone.

      • Is Running a Pirate Site Worse Than Stealing £8.5m From a Bank?

        This week an Irish man was handed a four-year sentence for running a pirate linking site. The Court accepted that he led no lavish lifestyle. In contrast, a man who stole almost £9m from a bank and bought homes worth £1.4m, three Bentleys, three Aston Martins, a Porsche 911 and a Rolls Royce, was also jailed. He received just 3.5 years. Fair?

      • Pirate Party Beats Iceland’s Government Coalition in the Polls

        The Pirate Party in Iceland continues to gain support, causing a revolution in the local political arena. According to the latest poll the party now has over a third of all votes in the country, beating the current Government coalition.


Links 23/10/2015: New Verifone POS Suite Runs Linux, BlackBerry to Ship Linux November 6th

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source design is ugly, here’s why

    In particular, Braithwaite said open source projects need design help in three key areas: User Experience, Branding, and Visual User Interface. But recruiting them isn’t going to be easy, Braithwaite said, because open source developers haven’t created an atmosphere where designers can feel like they’re part of a community. Open source communities can feel “highly ­exclusive,” Braithwaite said, adding: “It feels like a cool kids’ club that (designers) are not a part of ­ or maybe a really nerdy kids’ club.” Developers need to help motivate designers, he said.

  • Open source lessons for synthetic biology

    However, there are significant differences between the acceptance of open source software and open source biology, primarily boiling down to regulation and safety issues (after all, a badly written program can crash your computer, but a badly formed bacteria can kill you). The number of regulations that need to be followed when legally producing a transgenic organism are immense, particularly in ensuring that they are both non-harmful and unlikely to spread throughout the wild. These regulatory — and thus financial — burdens severely limit the degree to which any individual biohacker can take their ideas and develop them. Note, however, that this is individual biohackers — larger firms can naturally afford to bring developments through this stage to market. Can a larger firm thus make money from open source biology? We believe so, provided the company uses a method similar to Red Hat, Google, or Tesla, in using the open source component to drive customers toward their own market strength — for example, by releasing blueprints and software for lab automation, then selling that equipment and support.

  • TastyIgniter: An Open Source Platform to Manage a Restaurant

    Say you own a restaurant and you are ready to expand the reach of your services. You are thinking about incorporating online table reservations and ordering into your services but you have no idea what it entails. You like the idea but you don’t know how to code a website. There’s software you can install that will take care of all of that.

    What’s more? The software has features to aid kitchen management, customer and staff management, store management and internationalisation already built in.

    And it is free.

  • Swarm v. Fleet v. Kubernetes v. Mesos

    Most software systems evolve over time. New features are added and old ones pruned. Fluctuating user demand means an efficient system must be able to quickly scale resources up and down. Demands for near zero-downtime require automatic fail-over to pre-provisioned back-up systems, normally in a separate data centre or region.

  • Events

    • IoT and open source contributions keynote at All Things Open 2015

      One of my favorite things about the keynotes at All Things Open this year was that attendees didn’t have just one great speaker to listen to each morning—we had a few. I enjoyed hearing multiple stories and many insights from dynamic speakers all in one sitting.

    • FSF Blogs: Videos and photos from the FSF30 celebrations now available

      First, watch this video of FSF general counsel and Software Freedom Law Center President and Executive Director Eben Moglen’s talk, “FSF from 30 to 45,” given at the User Freedom Summit held at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Moglen looks ahead to the crucial issues facing the free software movement in its next fifteen years.

      At the 30th anniversary party held in Boston, we had two recorded greetings from friends of the FSF who were unable to attend in person. One was by FSF member, BoingBoing co-editor, and EFF fellow Cory Doctorow. The other greeting was from computer scientist and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge.

      Check out the video of the performance of the Free Software Song and the Bulgarian folk song that inspired it, Sadi Moma Bela Loza, by members of the Boston Bulgarian singing groups Divi Zheni and Zornitsa. We will have more videos of other guest toasts and RMS’s address soon.

    • Ubucon Slated for SCALE 14X, Bassel Offered MIT Job & More…

      I don’t say enough good things about Ubuntu, so when they give me reason to, I’m on it. I also don’t talk enough about openSUSE either; good, bad or indifferent.


      But Wait, There’s More: Speaking of SCALE 14x, you still have a week to submit a talk for the first-of-the-year Linux/FOSS show in the world (now before linux.conf.au and FOSDEM in 2016, by some stroke of scheduling luck). SCALE 14x is four days of Peace, Love and Linux at the Pasadena Convention Center from Jan. 21-24, 2016…Getting the computers to the kids is no easy feat, even when the truck is working: My good friend and FOSS Force colleague (not to mention Houston Astros fan) Ken Starks has an Indiegogo campaign to replace the now-deceased delivery vehicle for Reglue (Recycled Electronics and GNU/Linux Used for Education). Throw in a few bucks if you can.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla commits $1M to support free open-source software projects

        Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, announced today that it has allocated $1 million to dole out grants to support free and open-source software projects around the world.

      • Mozilla Launches Open Source Support Program

        Today Mozilla is launching an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software. Our initial allocation for this program is $1,000,000. We are inviting people already deeply connected to Mozilla to participate in our first set of awards.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • How CERN uses OpenStack to drive their scientific mission

      One of the world’s largest scientific organization is using OpenStack to understand what makes up everything in our universe. CERN runs one of the most collaborative scientific projects on Earth, responsible for producing enormous amounts of data on a routine basis to make Nobel prize winning discoveries such as the Higgs boson has some pretty unique computing requirements.

    • OpenStack Security Groups using OVN ACLs

      It’s worth looking at how this has been implemented with OVS in the past for OpenStack. OpenStack’s existing OVS integration (ML2+OVS) makes use of iptables to implement security groups. Unfortunately, to make that work, we have to connect the VM to a tap device, put that on a linux bridge, and then connect the linux bridge to the OVS bridge using a veth pair so that we have a place to implement the iptables rules. It’s great that this works, but the extra layers are not ideal.

    • Oracle Puts OpenStack into Docker Containers

      There is a misconception among some people that Docker containers and OpenStack are competitive technologies. The truth is the exact opposite, and in fact, Oracle is now providing the best proof yet by using Docker images as a mechanism to actually install an OpenStack cloud.

    • OpenStack Addresses Network Orchestration Layer

      While the OpenStack community likes to present a unified front to the outside world, inside the various projects that make up the OpenStack framework, there is a lot of frustration with the Neutron networking component of OpenStack. Much of that frustration stems from the fact that after five years of effort Neutron still doesn’t scale particularly well. As such, many of the organizations that have embraced OpenStack wind up swapping in a commercial network layer of software to replace Neutron.

    • Exposing the Truth About OpenStack Cloud Deployments

      Lured by the siren song of better business agility and accelerated innovation, an increasing number of companies are considering or have already deployed private clouds as part of their IT strategy. Since emerging in 2010 as an open-source initiative to help organizations build cloud services on industry-standard hardware, OpenStack has garnered much attention, but its adoption in production environments has been tempered by an assortment of perceived limitations, both real and imagined.

    • Mapr Adds Apache Drill 1.2 to Its Hadoop Distro

      MapR announced it has added Apache Drill 1.2 to its Apache Hadoop distribution for additional analytics support.

    • MapR Delivers Apache Drill 1.2 in its Hadoop Distribution

      MapR Technologies which offers a popular distribution of Apache Hadoop that integrates web-scale enterprise storage and real-time database capabilities, has announced the availability of Apache Drill 1.2 in its Distribution as well as a new Data Exploration Quick Start Solution. The addition of Drill 1.2 comes right on the heels of MapR adding Apache Spark to its distribution.

  • Databases

    • Oracle MySQL 5.7 Database Nears General Availability

      Ahead of Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in 2013, the company first began to talk about a major new release of its open-source MySQL database. Now two years later, development on MySQL 5.7 is compete and general availability is set for October 26.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Template Management in LibreOffice 5

      If you’re a LibreOffice power user, you’ve probably ventured into the realm of templates. But, if you’ve upgraded to LibreOffice 5, you’ve probably noticed a few minor changes to the way this feature is managed. It’s not a profound or game-changing shift, but a shift nonetheless.

      Because many people overlook the template feature in LibreOffice, I thought it would be a good idea to approach template management for LibreOffice 5 as if it were a new feature…and one that should be considered a must-have for all types of users. So, sit back and prepare to discover that feature which will make your time with LibreOffice exponentially easier.

    • LibreOffice Developers Working on a New Toolbar Layout

      The LibreOffice developers are working on a new interface that aims to unify all the different toolbars. This is still under development, and it will be provided as an option and not as default.

    • UK licence deal to boost use of open source office

      Public administrations in the UK can get professional support for using LibreOffice, the open source office alternative, thanks to a licence deal by the UK’s central procuring agency Crown Commercial Service with Collabora, a UK-based ICT service provider.

    • First bug hunting session for LibreOffice 5.1

      Those who cannot join during the bug hunting session are always welcome to help chasing bugs and regressions when they have time. There will be a second bug hunting session in December, to test LibreOffice 5.1 Release Candidate 1.

    • LibreOffice 5.1 Is Working On New Features For A February Debut

      LibreOffice 5.1 is planned for release in early February while to catch some bugs early they’re organizing the first bug hunt from 30 October to 1 November. Builds of LibreOffice 5.1 Alpha 1 are already available for testing. More details via The Document Foundation’s blog.

    • finding UI crashes by fuzzing input events with american fuzzy lop

      As mentioned previously I’ve been experimenting using afl as a fuzzing engine to fuzz a stream of serialized keyboard events which LibreOffice reads and dispatches.

  • BSD

    • Deweloperzy OpenBSD: Dmitrij D. Czarkoff

      In 2005 I tried OpenBSD for the first time. I still recall how I was impressed by the fact that I only needed ifconfig (as opposed to ifconfig, iwconfig and wpa_supplicant on Linux) to configure my wireless network card.

    • Deweloperzy OpenBSD: Marc Espie

      Funny story actually. It was about 20 years ago, and I didn’t have any Internet access at home. I wanted to play with some Unix on my home Amiga, as I didn’t have root access on the suns at University. Getting anything on my Amiga was complicated, as I had to transfer everything through floppies. Turned out OpenBSD was the only OS with sane and clear instructions. NetBSD gave you so many different choices, I couldn’t figure out which one to follow, and Linux was a jungle of patches.

    • W^X enabled in Firefox port

      After recent discussions of revisiting W^X support in Mozilla Firefox, David Coppa (dcoppa@) has flipped the switch to enable it for OpenBSD users running -current.

    • Google Continues Working On CUDA Compiler Optimizations In LLVM

      While it will offend some that Google continues to be investing in NVIDIA’s CUDA GPGPU language rather than an open standard like OpenCL, the Google engineers continue making progress on a speedy, open-source CUDA with LLVM.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • What Is the Most Dangerous Gang in Prison?
  • Mythbusters hosts say 14th season will be last, announce farewell tour

    In 2016, Mythbusters hosts and stars Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will warn viewers not to try this at home for the last time. The duo announced on Wednesday that the Discovery Channel TV series’ 14th season, which begins airing January 9, will be its last.

  • Angry Birds’ Rovio Cuts 213 Jobs, Axes Learning To Refocus On Games And Video

    After announcing in August that it would cut up to 260 jobs, Rovio — maker of the Angry Birds games — today released details of the final number: the Finland-based company is letting go of 213 employees, around 25% of staff, as it continues to restructure and cut away unprofitable parts of its business. The whole of the company is being affected, with the exception of those working on the production of The Angry Birds Movie in the U.S. and Canada.

  • The Chinese Internet Wants To Know About David Cameron And Pigs

    The state visit to the UK by president Xi Jinping has been seen as a success in China, although ordinary people on Weibo keep asking David Cameron about pigs.

  • Security

    • Fitbit can allegedly be hacked in 10 seconds

      Fitness-tracking wristband Fitbit, which has sold more than 20 million devices worldwide, and tracks your calorie count, heart rate and other highly personal information, can be remotely hacked, according to research by Fortinet. This gives hackers access to the computer to which you sync your Fitbit.

    • Adobe releases emergency patch for Flash zero-day flaw
    • Adobe confirms major Flash vulnerability, and the only way to protect yourself is to uninstall Flash

      Just one day after Adobe released its monthly security patches for various software including Flash Player, the company confirmed a major security vulnerability that affects all versions of Flash for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. You read that correctly… all versions. Adobe said it has been made aware that this vulnerability is being used by hackers to attack users, though it says the attacks are limited and targeted. Using the exploit, an attacker can crash a target PC or even take complete control of the computer.

    • Western Digital self-encrypting hard drives riddled with security flaws

      Several versions of self-encrypting hard drives from Western Digital are riddled with so many security flaws that attackers with physical access can retrieve the data with little effort, and in some cases, without even knowing the decryption password, a team of academics said.

      The paper, titled got HW crypto? On the (in)security of a Self-Encrypting Drive series, recited a litany of weaknesses in the multiple versions of the My Passport and My Book brands of external hard drives. The flaws make it possible for people who steal a vulnerable drive to decrypt its contents, even when they’re locked down with a long, randomly generated password. The devices are designed to self-encrypt all stored data, a feature that saves users the time and expense of using full-disk encryption software.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks publishes e-mail from CIA director’s hacked AOL account

      WikiLeaks has released a cache of e-mails which the site says were retrieved from CIA Director John Brennan’s AOL account.

      The e-mails include Brennan’s SF86, a form that he had to fill out to get his current position and security clearance. The form, from 2008, “reveals a quite comprehensive social graph of the current Director of the CIA with a lot of additional non-governmental and professional/military career details,” according to WikiLeaks’ description of the document.

    • WikiLeaks Is Publishing the CIA Director’s Hacked Emails

      WikiLeaks may describe itself as an outlet for whistleblowers, but it’s never hesitated to publish stolen documents offered up by a helpful hacker, either. So it’s no surprise that it’s now leaked the pilfered files of the CIA’s director, John Brennan.

      On Wednesday, the secret-spilling group published a series of selected messages and attachments from a trove of emails taken from Brennan’s AOL account. Though WikiLeaks hasn’t revealed its source, there’s little doubt the files were handed off by the self-described teen hackers calling themselves CWA or “Crackas With Attitude,” who claim to have hacked Brennan’s AOL account through a series of “social engineering” tricks.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Even corporate America wants campaign finance reform to stop crony capitalism

      Political corruption is eating our democracy out from the inside. Most Americans know that. But democratic and economic health can’t be easily disentangled. As it diminishes our public sphere and drowns out the myriad of citizen voices, it also sucks the energy and vitality from our economy. This causes pain to business owners.

      According to a recent report from the Committee on Economic Development, an old, white-shoe non-partisan organization that came out of the aftermath of World War II (and was a booster for the Marshall Plan), the United States economy is increasingly represented by crony capitalism, not competitive capitalism.

    • Fox Guest: Black Lives Matter Is A “Terrorist Group”
  • Privacy

    • Facebook Is The Borg

      For days, I had mysterious annoying bell dings on my Mac. It turns out that Facebook turned on sound notifications — entirely without my doing — for when people comment on posts.

    • Why Vietnam’s Communists Are Learning to Like Facebook

      Vietnam’s Communist government, which once blocked Facebook Inc., is now embracing the online tools of capitalism by establishing its own page on the social media website in order to reach young Internet-savvy users who turn to it for news and discourse.

    • The scientists encouraging online piracy with a secret codeword

      In many countries, it’s against the law to download copyrighted material without paying for it – whether it’s a music track, a movie, or an academic paper. Published research is protected by the same laws, and access is generally restricted to scientists – or institutions – who subscribe to journals.

      But some scientists argue that their need to access the latest knowledge justifies flouting the law, and they’re using a Twitter hashtag to help pirate scientific papers.

    • EFF’s Let’s Encrypt has support from super browser brothers

      A SECURITY CERTIFICATE EFFORT involving the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, IdenTrust and the University of Michigan has lived up to promises to be in order by 2015.

    • Proposed German law: telecoms must store customer data on airgapped servers

      The German Bundestag (parliament) has passed a controversial law requiring telecoms and Internet companies to store customers’ metadata and to make it available to law enforcement agencies investigating “severe crimes.” Specifically, “phone providers will now have to retain phone numbers, the date and time of phone calls and text messages, and, in the case of mobile phones, location (approximated through the identification of cell phone towers).” In addition, “Internet providers are required to save the IP addresses of users as well as the date and time of connections made,” a post on the Lawfare blog explains.

    • DHS now needs warrant for stingray use, but not when protecting president

      As expected, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its own stingray requirements. Agents must now obtain a warrant prior to deploying the secretive surveillance tool as part of criminal investigations. This new policy comes over a month after the Department of Justice released its own similarly policy.

      The new rules will apply to DHS, as well as agencies that fall under its umbrella, such as the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    • CISA Moves Forward: These 83 Senators Just Voted To Expand Surveillance

      Well, it’s not a huge surprise that it moved forward, but the faux “cybersecurity” bill, which is actually a surveillance bill in disguise, CISA, has moved forward in the Senate via an overwhelming 83 to 14 vote. As we’ve discussed at length, while CISA is positioned as just a “voluntary” cybersecurity information sharing bill, it’s really none of those things. It’s not voluntary and it’s not really about cybersecurity. Instead, it’s a surveillance bill, that effectively gives the NSA greater access to information from companies in order to do deeper snooping through its upstream collection points. Even the attempts to supposedly “clarify” the language to protect data from being used for surveillance shows that the language is deliberately written to look like it does one thing, while really opening up the ability of the NSA and FBI to get much more information.

  • Civil Rights

    • Critics say air marshals, much wanted after 9/11, have become ‘bored cops’ flying first class

      At a price tag of $9 billion over the past 10 years, Duncan called the program “ineffective” and “irrelevant.”


      Duncan acknowledged at an oversight committee last month that the program “has come to be a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the DHS, when 4,000 bored cops fly around the country First Class, committing more crimes than they stop.”

    • New ‘Car Safety Bill’ Would Make Us Less Safe, Block Security Research And Hinder FTC And Others

      The House Energy and Commerce Committee is pushing an absolutely terrible draft bill that is supposedly about improving “car safety.” This morning there were hearings on the bill, and the thing looks like a complete dud. In an era when we’re already concerned about the ridiculousness of how copyright law is blocking security research on automobiles (just as we’re learning about automakers hiding secret software in their cars to avoid emissions testing), as well as questions about automobile vulnerabilities and the ability to criminalize security research under the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act), this bill makes basically all of it worse.

    • Sheldon Whitehouse Freaks Out, Blames ‘Pro-Botnet Lobby’ For Rejecting His Terrible CFAA Amendment

      As we mentioned yesterday, one of the (many) bad things involved in the new Senate attempt to push the CISA “cybersecurity” bill forward was that they were including a bad amendment added by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that would expand the terrible Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a law that should actually be significantly cut back. Senator Ron Wyden protested this amendment speci