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03.05.14

Linux News: 3.14 RC5, LTSI v3.10, kGraft…

Posted in News Roundup at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kernel Releases

  • Linux 3.14-rc5
  • The Hectic Pace Of Linux Kernel Development

    That’s pretty good support. I’ve had very little breakage despite the hectic pace of updates. I was taking ~30 minutes almost weekely to build a kernel with a configuration similar to that in the Debian kernel. That was a bit onerous so I did a “make localmodconfig” Create a config based on current config and loaded modules (lsmod). Disables any module option that is not needed for the loaded modules.”

  • LTSI v3.10 is Now Released

    Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI) Kernel Maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman this week released LTSI-3.10.

    This latest version, released on Feb. 24, has brought more than 2,500 additional patches on top of the 3.10 Stable Kernel maintained by the kernel community.

kGraft

  • SUSE Labs Director Talks Live Kernel Patching with kGraft

    The code, set to be released in March, doesn’t patch kernel code in-place but rather uses an ftrace-like approach to replace whole functions in the Linux kernel with fixed variants, said Pavlik. SUSE then plans to submit it to the Linux kernel community for upstream integration.

AMD

  • AMD updates driver and programming tools roadmap for supporting HSA features in Kaveri

    Today AMD is expected to release a beta driver for Windows that exposes some shared memory extensions to OpenCL. Currently, AMD ships an OpenCL 1.2 implementation for Kaveri. OpenCL 1.2 standard by itself does not really expose shared memory features properly but OpenCL 2.0 will have more robust support. AMD does not have a full OpenCL 2.0 driver yet, but today they will be providing some of the 2.0 functionality as extensions in their current OpenCL 1.2 driver. I don’t have the details on the exact extensions supported, and I will update the article when I do.

  • [Systemd] Formalizing Backports

    Zbigniew and Colin have now set up a new git repo with a “stable” branch where these are backported to selected versions, to share some work between the distributions which happen to stabilize on these versions.

  • AMD Launches Catalyst 14.2 Beta Drivers; Talks Linux

    AMD’s Catalyst 14.2 beta drivers are now available. AMD is also making changes to the X.ORG ‘radeon’ repository.

  • Likely Radeon Gallium3D Regression On Linux 3.14 + Mesa 10.2
  • Radeon Gallium3D Performance Gets Close To Catalyst On Ubuntu 14.04

    With the open-source graphics driver stack found in the forthcoming release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Mesa 10.1 + Linux 3.13), the performance of the community-developed Radeon Gallium3D driver is now close to that of the official AMD Catalyst driver for recent generations of Radeon graphics cards. In several OpenGL tests the “RadeonSI” driver can even run 80% the speed of AMD’s official Catalyst Linux driver.

Intel

  • Intel Works On RandR Implementation For Wayland’s Weston

    The latest work by Intel employees on Wayland is adding an RandR protocol, similar to the X RandR protocol, to the Weston compositor.

  • Intel Broadwell Gets A Temporary DRM Branch

    For distribution vendors or those fortunate to have early access to Intel’s forthcoming Broadwell processors, there’s a temporary DRM kernel driver branch that provides new features and changes over what’s currently found in the upstream Linux kernel or the drm-intel development branch.

Mesa

Graphics Stack

Benchmarks

Misc.

GNOME News: GNOME 3.12, Wayland, Numix, GTK+…

Posted in News Roundup at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Core

Wayland

  • A wayland status update
  • Wayland Still To Be A “Tech Preview” In GNOME 3.12

    While a lot of headway has been made during the GNOME 3.10 and 3.12 development cycles for allowing the GNOME Shell and rest of the desktop run natively on Wayland without a hard dependency on X11, it was decided that enabling the Wayland support by default will not happen now until at least GNOME 3.14. GNOME 3.12 will still work as a very reasonable Wayland tech preview, but there’s some unfinished tasks to be addressed.

  • Gnome 3.12 won’t offer full support for Wayland

    Gnome developers have been debating the full support for Wayland in 3.12 for a while. They at one point even considered delaying the Gnome release to keep the development in sync with Wayland. Finally, developers have decided to keep Wayland in ‘preview’ mode as there is still a lot of work to be done.

Numix

  • Gnome Revisited? Numix Project Announces OS and Shell

    The Numix Project recently unveiled plans to release their own Operating System and Desktop Shell for the Linux kernel. Previously the project enjoyed success with their set of extensions for the Gnome 3 desktop. The custom desktop shell Numix has built and arranged is full of colorful and rich icons, something lacking from a default Gnome 3 instance. Collaboration with Nitrux S.A. is also in effect, propelling this interesting project forward in full force. There are some though who previously criticized the project as “yet another Gnome clone,” but it is yet to be seen the full extent of what this announcement will bring. Numix promises the unrevealed portions to be quite good, describing them as ”rad.” I must be getting old, but I digress. The desktop shell the project team is aiming for a professionally designed and clean look. Notable areas include an intellihide dock at the bottom, allowing dragging to other workspaces a breeze. Not much else is known at the moment, but updates should soon be revealed. I have doubts as to what else Numix will do to truly different itself from the pack, aside from clean looking text and icons. Regardless, I give them the benefit of the doubt until I see their final product. If the good looking mockups are any indication, we may very well see a fine looking end result.

Applications

GTK

  • GTK+ 3.11.7 Uses New Wayland Methods

    GTK+ 3.11.7 has been released for this week’s GNOME 3.12 Beta.

    GTK+ 3.11.7 isn’t too exciting with it already being late into the 3.12 release cycle, but on the Wayland front it makes use of the new xdg-shell ping and xfg-shell focus methods.

    The listing of the GTK+ tool-kit changes for this new development release can be found via this Git tag.

  • Meld 3.11.0 Has Been Ported to GTK+ 3

    Kai Willadsen had the pleasure of announcing today, February 23, that the Meld visual diff and merge tool reached version 3.11.0, a release that includes many new features and improvements.

  • GNOME’s GTK+ Gains Google CloudPrint Support

    CloudPrint is the Google web service for users to share their printers and having a “Print to File” menu item that is basically the same as “Save to Google Drive.” This GTK+ CloudPrint support works with GNOME-Online-Accounts for gaining access to your Google account and is able to discover printers, obtain printer details, and submit print jobs.

Opinions

  • GNOME Sanity, FAQ, and Gaming Options

    Today’s newsfeeds were bountiful indeed. Muktware is running a comparison of gaming option for us Linux users. The Register tested GNOME 3.12 and says it’s looking sensible and sane. And Gary Newell has tried to answer the eternal question: “Is Linux right for me?” Today’s post also includes several extras to keep you busy through the weekend too.

  • Silly Names, GNOME Wayland, & SUSE Growth

03.03.14

News Roundup: Rights and Politics

Posted in News Roundup at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Today’s headlines, including Ukraine analysis, the return of drone strikes, and views from Venezuela

Assassination

Ukraine

Intervention

  • Tom Hayden on the crisis in Venezuela

    The American Congress and public are becoming used to street protests overthrowing elected governments regardless of the issue of national sovereignty. “Humanitarian intervention” in the affairs of other nations means willfully ignoring sovereignty where egregious human rights abuses are at stake and no negotiations are possible. The argument is somewhat attractive up to the point where it revives the Law of the Jungle. In the case of Venezuela, not only sovereignty but representative democracy are at stake, in a region which only recently began to shed the US-supported rule of oligarchs and generals.

  • Venezuelan Open Source Software Communities Condemn Media Manipulation

    In any case, we want to remind the owners of the business known as Zello.com that Venezuela is a sovereign and independent nation, and just as they are obliged to work with law enforcement agencies in the US when their network is used by someone to commit crimes, they should work together with the Venezuelan government to block the network of terrorists issuing messages that encourage violence and endanger the lives of Venezuelan citizens.

    Why should Venezuela allow any foreign company to break our laws and promote terrorism with impunity, especially at a time that are actively destabilizing our political and economic system? What would you do if a known terrorist who lives outside the United States used the network to promote aggression against the lives of public officials and promote terrorist attacks in your country? What would the US government do, or any other country do, if a group of people used a Venezuelan company to encourage US citizens to make weapons to attack and kill others, and try to destabilize and overthrow their government?

    [...]

    We repudiate the negative mainstreaming efforts underway by international media against Venezuela, and we exhort them to better inform themselves about the facts. We exhort the free software, hardware, knowledge and culture community around the world to research what’s really happening in our country and urgently ask the end of violent attacks by Venezuelan right wing factions, pushed and promoted by the US government.

  • In the TV spy show ‘The Americans,’ the CIA has to approve the scripts

    On the FX show The Americans, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, a typical suburban couple in the 1980s. Two kids, nice house, they run a travel agency together. They’re also spies for the Soviet Union, moles sent to live among us. And their kids have no idea.

Surveillance

  • VIDEO: Bruce Schneier on the NSA

    When it comes to domestic surveillance and metadata collection, Schneier firmly believes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the right agency to handle that data. He noted that the FBI already has domestic security capabilities and is responsible for the national fingerprint database. “The FBI is where we have laws and we have transparency,” Schenier said.

  • Brazil, EU Take Pride In Temporarily Avoiding The NSA With New Joint Undersea Cable Run

    To pretend the NSA lacks the ability to simply tap this new cable run, nab that same data at any of a million interconnection points, or just get it handed to them by other intelligence agencies is perhaps either naive, a bit of political salesmanship for the project, or both. Still, it’s another instance of how the NSA revelations have significantly tarnished international/U.S. relations, resulting in a large number of countries making it a point of pride to avoid using U.S. technology. That’s not going to be particularly great for U.S. industry, and we’re likely only just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

  • NSA revelations may let jailed terrorists challenge their convictions
  • DOJ Still Ducking Scrutiny After Misleading Supreme Court on Surveillance

    Our recent history shows that we cannot rely solely on the government’s word, even if it is operating in good faith. The lack of transparency about this obvious misrepresentation is cause for concern. Was this alleged oversight confined to Section 702, one of many controversial surveillance authorities? Or is that merely the tip of the iceberg? Lawyers have an ethical obligation to speak with candor to tribunals, especially when representing the government. Amazingly, Verrilli has managed to remain silent throughout this controversy. It’s past time we heard from him directly.

  • Anti-NSA services on the rise: Encryption technology to leave no data trail for spying

    The National Security Agency’s snooping on email traffic and phone records has prompted a cottage industry in products meant to keep spies out of their customers’ business.

    Among the companies promoting devices at this year’s RSA technology-security conference in San Francisco, which attracts thousands of corporate executives, is Silent Circle. The company said its Blackphone, which is based on the Android operating system, will leave no unshielded records of calls, text messages or data storage for spies to obtain and mine.

  • NSA in the bluff as it tries to cover data truth

    The American security agency has claimed it’s not been collecting personal information of phone and internet users, but the Yahoo revelations have exposed the violation of individual privacy

  • Even Trade Talks Are Not Safe From Spying – OpEd

    A couple of weeks ago, it was revealed that American and Australian spy agencies had been monitoring the law firm Mayer Brown while it was representing the Indonesian government in trade talks with the United States. The revelation made it clear that those two governments, and probably many others, have not limited themselves to spying on terrorist groups and other criminal enterprises, but have extended their activities to include trade discussions.

  • An end to warrantless email searches?

    Legislation in the House that would end the warrantless searches of email records is gaining steam.

    Privacy advocates had grown frustrated in recent months as Senate legislation that would curtail the email powers of law enforcement was thrown off track amid revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

Privacy

Civil Rights

  • ‘Trigger-happy’ Israeli army and police use reckless force in the West Bank
  • The Challenges of a Digital World to our Security & Liberty, Yvette Cooper MP

    British Labour Party remains the party of Internet spying and censorship. They gave us RIPA, they gave us DEA, and they want to do it again.

    My Labour MP, Meg Hillier, is the architect of the plan to issue national ID cards and voted for the Digital Economy Act. She’s in a safe seat, so voting against her is a fairly meaningless act, but I plan on doing so.

    With Tories and Labour both committed to a digital agenda built on ubiquitous surveillance and unaccountable censorship, we could really do with a decent alternative.

    Once, I believed that might be the Libdems, but their party leadership whipped them to vote for (seriously) a system of secret courts.

Animal Rights

Links 3/3/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Valve Games On AMD Foss Drivers

    Hey Linux gamers, got some good news for the AMD users . It’s pretty common knowledge Nvidia users get some good drivers at the trade-off of binary blob drivers (or not, depending on your ethics) and that AMD are often left in the dust, but how can open source drivers change that?

  • Planetary Annihilation Now In Gamma Phase With Major Patch, New GOL Video For You
  • Door Kickers Squad-Based Strategy Releases Alpha 9
  • Steam Family Sharing now open to public

    The announcement came over the Steam Community Boards, where it was announced that the Family Sharing feature is now available to the general public. Through this feature, a single user can share his/her entire Steam Library with up to five family members over ten different devices. Once the members are authorized, they can play any or all of the game through their own accounts. The achievements, saves and other related records achieved by the gamer will be tied to the gamer’s individual account using cloud saves.

  • Steam Hardware Survey Changes, Now Split Per-Platform

    Something to note is that it doesn’t show the lesser represented distro’s, I for example use Manjaro which isn’t shown.

    So, to look back on January Linux was actually on 1.34%, not 1.11%!

  • February 2014 Steam Hardware Survey Shows Linux At 1.3%

    According to the latest figures published by Valve for their “Steam Hardware Survey”, they put the percent of Linux gamers on Steam at 1.30%.

  • Many Linux Games To Look Forward To In 2014

    So Linux has a lot of games now, with plenty more still to come this year as it’s early days yet, but I have decided to list a few you really need to keep an eye on. Since we post so much news nowadays I feel that it is a good time to reflect on what we have still yet to come, so you don’t get lost in a sea of Linux games.

  • GOL Cast: Catching Phantoms And Poltergeists In GhostControl Inc.
  • Nothing To Hide, A Game Of Anti-Stealth & It’s Open Source

    I have tested the game and it runs really well on Manjaro, it’s very odd, but the premise is really funny. I love how it all looks like status updates on a social networking site.

  • Linux Gamers Have More Choices Than Ever

    After a number of years of remaining woefully behind other platforms, Linux is starting to be a gaming platform to take seriously. Late last year, I covered comments from Lars Gustavsson, a creative director for EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE), the Electronic Arts studio that does the Battlefield series, on the topic of Linux games. He had told Polygon that DICE would love to delve into Linux games, and that what Linux really needs is a “killer game.” Now, as 2014 is underway, Linux gamers actually have a lot of good choices.

  • Do Linux gamers have too many options now?

    My feeling is that the answer is clearly no, and frankly it’s very refreshing for Linux gamers to have different options at all. I remember the days when it was very hard to find games for Linux and I’d never want to go back to that. Ever. It was a miserable time if you used Linux and wanted to play games.

  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall now available on PC, Mac and Linux

    Shadowrun Returns today receives its first full-length campaign expansion with Shadowrun: Dragonfall from developer Harebrained Schemes. A 12+ hour campaign set in the city of Berlin awaits with new features.

  • Portal 2 released for Linux

    Today, a beta version of Portal 2, one of the most successful game titles poduced by Valve and generally one of the most successful computer games, has been released for Linux. While the first Portal has been available on Linux for a year now, Valve was working on other titles for Linux, like Left 4 Dead 2, Dota 2 or the new game consoles “Steam machines”, before releasing Portal 2 for Linux.

  • Cricket Audio now available for Linux

    Cricket Audio allows app developers to quickly add sound to their apps with just a few lines of code. It can play sounds directly from memory with low latency, or stream them from storage media, and is designed specifically for mobile games, with highly optimized code and low, predictable memory usage. It also works on Windows, OS X, and now Linux, so it can be integrated into authoring tools.

Links 3/3/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 3/3/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

03.02.14

Leftovers: Cybervandalism in China, US/UK, Destabilisation of Ukraine and Militarism

Posted in News Roundup at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This weekend’s headlines about foreign policy, surveillance, and aggression

China

  • Chinese government still sponsoring cyber-espionage, says FireEye COO

    A year ago, Mandiant, since acquired by FireEye, issued a long report called “APT1″ that accused China’s People’s Liberation Army of launching cyber-espionage attacks against 141 companies in 20 industries through a group known as “PLA Unit 61398″ operating mainly from Shanghai.

Mass surveillance in US/UK

  • A cell phone wrapped in tin foil is just one of the ways Julia Angwin went off the grid in her new book

    Angwin goes to great lengths to do just that. One of the unthinkable things she did to keep her safe?

    Tin foil. Seriously.

    Angwin spent a day with her phone wrapped in it. The good news is the tinfoil disabled it.

    “The bad news is the phone is disabled and people can’t get a hold of you,” she says. “And people look at you like you’re crazy.”

  • Two Washington County delegates withdraw as co-sponsors after learning more about Fourth Amendment Protection Act

    Serafini and fellow Washington County Republican Del. Neil Parrott were reminded of that earlier this month when they signed on as co-sponsors of a measure called the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, which, if enacted, could stop the National Security Agency from operating in the state by, among other things, cutting off utility services to the superspy agency.

  • NSA tight-lipped on webcam spy role as privacy advocates seethe

    The NSA has refused to detail exactly how much access to secret Yahoo webcam surveillance that snapped photos of millions of unwitting video chatters, including those involved in adult activities, as demands from privacy regulators for more transparency in monitoring increase in volume. Allegations earlier this week that a clandestine UK scheme run by GCHQ tapped into millions of Yahoo webcam streams and recorded numerous still images to create a vast virtual “mugshot” book of potential terrorists, with technical assistance from the US’ NSA in setting up the system, has reawakened criticism of the federal agency after moves by President Obama to try to dampen down what have been seen as overly intrusive methods.

  • GCHQ reportedly monitored Yahoo cam chats. Company confirms cam traffic not secure pre-2012

    The Guardian reports that GCHQ, a British analog to the National Security Agency, collected and stored images from Yahoo webcam streams through a program called “Optic Nerve.” According to the report, the agency targeted “millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing,” including citizens of both the United States and the United Kingdom, with the program.

  • Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images

    The latest top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) may have peered into the lives of millions of internet users who were not suspected of wrongdoing. The surveillance program codenamed “Optic Nerve” compiled still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and stored them in the GCHQ’s databases with help from the NSA. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency reportedly amassed webcam images from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts worldwide. According to the documents, between 3 and 11 percent of the Yahoo webcam images contained what the GCHQ called “undesirable nudity.” The program was reportedly also used for experiments in “automated facial recognition” as well as to monitor terrorism suspects. We speak with James Ball, one of the reporters who broke the story. He is the special projects editor for Guardian U.S.

  • Senators blast NSA for webcam spying

    Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) slammed the National Security Agency after reports that its surveillance program capture images from users’ webcams.

  • ‘NSA, GCHQ criminals way ahead of the law in Britain and US’

    Tony Gosling: This has got nothing to do with counterterrorism, has it? Because this is just yet another great data troll and there are all sorts of reasons why it is illegal. Apparently this sort of thing has to be sanctioned by the Foreign Secretary or Home Secretary at the highest levels, and in the US it has to be sanctioned through the secret FISA court, but there are very good reasons why the people that have committed this actually should be or are criminals. I’m talking about those who authorized it at government level, in GCHQ and the individual operators that have been collecting this data. I mean all of these things we’ve heard about spyware being put on viruses, put on our computers, our computers being stopped on the way to our homes to have this spyware, this kind of thing put on it, we also have denial of service attacks that is taking out websites of campaign groups and that sort of thing by GCHQ and by the NSA. But this is actually the most creepy so far. Using webcams, it’s like an intruder into your living room and it’s not just happening to people who counter terrorism, there is everybody they are after here.

  • Heritage Gets it Wrong: Claims States Have to Help NSA

    To date, most opposition to Fourth Amendment Protection Act provisions that would ultimately shut off electricity and water to NSA facilities supplied by state entities has come from those claiming it will never work, and others who defend the “national security” mission of the spy agency. Few have actually challenged the legality of state action.

  • Zaleski: This stuff would stun George Orwell

    I’m not one to fall into an Orwellian funk about Big Brother government, but spectacular advances in technology ought to concern anyone who values privacy. Whether it’s the NSA global spying scandal or the likelihood of unmanned drones patrolling the skies over your idyllic middle-class neighborhood, it’s all getting a little scary. Whether it’s an array of police cameras in downtown Fargo, or private sector monitoring/collecting of your buying habits, or recording sound and picture of folks walking through a mall, or the fact that anyone with a cellphone can be tracked and identified – the technologies deployed already are far beyond the frightening screens in George Orwell’s “1984.”

  • Accomplices caught Clapper in a lie

    Recently it was announced that the prestigious George Polk Award for National Security Reporting would be given to the four journalists — Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman — most active in reporting about the content of the NSA documents leaked by Snowden. The award, named after a CBS News correspondent killed in 1948 while covering the civil war in Greece, is intended to honor journalists who “heightened public awareness with perceptive detection and dogged pursuit of stories that otherwise would not have seen the light of day.”

  • Utah: Land of Secrets

    Everyone from Germany’s Angela Merkel to Utah’s Tea Party wants to know what is going on in the 200,000-square-foot complex of Walmart-esque boxes squatting on the hillside due west of Point of the Mountain. Of course, this being the $1.5 million beating heart of a spy agency, we aren’t meant to know what’s out there—to paraphrase the Roach Motel slogan: Vast amounts of information go in, but none comes out. If it weren’t for Edward Snowden, we wouldn’t know much at all. But the tantalizing bits—including that NSA monitors terrorists’ porn browsing, Internet gamers, and a few employees’ ex-lovers—boggles the imagination.

  • NSA spying on American people is unacceptable

    Yet America basically has a secret police in the form of the NSA. It is hypocritical to claim that we are the land of the free when we are being constantly watched by the government. America needs to either accept that we are not really free or the NSA need to massively change their practices. We have the Constitution for a reason, to guide our government and to protect America’s citizens.

RSA

Tor/IM

  • Tor is developing its own anonymous instant messanger

    Worried about Facebook’s takeover of Whatsapp? The Tor Project is prepping an anonymous instant messaging client that’s tied to its free, Deep Web-friendly browser.

  • Take back your communication with Tor instant messenger
  • Telegram, an open-source competitor of WhatsApp

    First of all Telegram is free and open-source, and you can grab the source from here. Well known security protocols are open-source and this gives the possibility for communities of cryptographers, hackers and public audience to test their actual security. Using two layers of secure encryption with 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, RSA 2048 encryption and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange. It’s impossible to brute force a RSA 2048 encryption key with all the computers available on the universe.

Ukraine

  • Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many?

    Russia’s parliament has approved President Putin’s request for the use of force inside neighboring Ukraine, as the latest neocon-approved “regime change” spins out of control and threatens to inflict grave damage on international relations, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.

  • Russian parliament approves use of military against Ukraine

    Russian senate endorse Putin’s request to use armed forces as Russian forces tighten their grip on Crimea and pro-Russian demonstrations take place in eastern and southern Ukraine.

  • ‘US, EU staged classic regime change in Ukraine’

    The EU and US have carried out a classic coup d’état in Ukraine using ultra-right forces as human material, anti-war activist Brian Becker told RT. And cementing that victory with an IMF aid package would place Ukraine on a Greek path into Europe.

  • On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence

    This morning, I see that some people are quite abuzz about a new Pando article ”revealing” that the foundation of Pierre Omidyar, the publisher of First Look Media which publishes The Intercept, gave several hundred thousand dollars to a Ukraininan “pro-democracy” organization opposed to the ruling regime. This, apparently, is some sort of scandal that must be immediately addressed not only by Omidyar, but also by every journalist who works at First Look. That several whole hours elapsed since the article was published on late Friday afternoon without my commenting is, for some, indicative of disturbing stonewalling.

  • Territorial Integrity

    Putin, of course, is a total hypocrite. There is no doubt that the populations of Dagestan and Chehcnya had a genuine and settled desire to secede from Russia, and they have suffered Putin’s genocidal policies in consequence. Putin is not acting from a belief in self-determination, but from naked Russian nationalism. That is what is so amusing about the deluded left wingers supporting him against the nationalists of Kiev.

  • A Shadow US Foreign Policy

    The National Endowment for Democracy, a central part of Ronald Reagan’s propaganda war against the Soviet Union three decades ago, has evolved into a $100 million U.S. government-financed slush fund that generally supports a neocon agenda often at cross-purposes with the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

    NED is one reason why there is so much confusion about the administration’s policies toward attempted ousters of democratically elected leaders in Ukraine and Venezuela. Some of the non-government organizations (or NGOs) supporting these rebellions trace back to NED and its U.S. government money, even as Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials insist the U.S. is not behind these insurrections.

Drones (extrajudicial killings)

  • Pakistan drone strike victim talks to the Bureau

    Khan almost did not make it the UK. Shortly before he was to travel to Europe he was taken from his home in Rawalpindi. He said 15 people including some dressed as police took him and held him for nine days, torturing him during the detention.

  • Violating the ideals he pledged to uphold

    This extrajudicial killing program should make every American queasy. Based on largely secret legal standards and entirely secret evidence, our government has killed thousands of people. At least several hundred were killed far from any battlefield. Four of the dead are Americans. The current case involves an al-Qaeda member known as Abdullah al-Shami, who was born in the United States and is now in Pakistan. Astonishingly, President Obama’s Justice Department has said the courts have no role in deciding whether the killing of U.S. citizens far from any battlefield is lawful.

  • Why no droning on about drones?

    Were you surprised the 2014 New Mexico legislative session dragged to a finish without one word about killing drones?

  • US drone strikes require investigation, ‘public explanation’ – UN report

    A UN counter-terrorism expert has published the second report of his year-long investigation into drone strikes, highlighting 30 strikes where civilians are reported to have been killed.

  • ‘Drones strikes to continue despite EU ban’

    EU legislation banning the use of drones won’t diminish the number of drone attacks, it will just be much more selective in terms of where they can be used, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.

  • European Parliament Votes To Condemn Member States Complicit In CIA Drone Program
  • JI lauds European Parliament for condemnation of drones

    Jamaat e Islami (JI) chief Munawar Hasan said European Parliament’s condemnation of civilian killings in drone attacks hit Pakistani rulers hard since they badly failed in stopping civilian massacre.

Militarism

  • The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2013
  • U.S. Has No Moral Authority – Ex-Bush Official

    While talking about the regime change program of U.S. foreign Policy he says, The US should encourage such change through the force of its own democratic example, not through force of arms or covert actions to encourage coups d’etat as it is doing today in Venezuela. And, by the way, that US example has been tarnished enormously by such actions as torture and abuse.”

  • Will Obama End the War on Terror?
  • Repeal and Restore

    How President Obama can end the war on terror, once and for all.

  • Did CIA’s Mike Morell Lie About Benghazi For Obama?

    Former CIA acting Director Mike Morell might be recalled for testimony to determine if he misled Congress and doctored the White House response to a terrorist attack to ensure President Obama’s re-election.

    The administration’s tangled web of Benghazi lies might be unraveling some more. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., has told Fox News that Morell, a former deputy director and twice acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will likely be recalled to testify.

  • Whistle-Blower Punches a Hole in Memoir From Robert Gates

    This is the Washington merry-go-round, of course, no matter who controls the White House or Congress. According to the reform group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, “70 percent of the 108 three- and four-star generals and admirals who retired between 2009 and 2011 took jobs with defense contractors or consultants. In at least a few cases, these retirees have continued to advise the Department of Defense – all while on the payroll of the defense industry.”

  • Jack Ryan Uses Bible to Exonerate Wall Street, CIA

    If there were an Oscar for Best Hidden Agenda, it would go to Jack Ryan: The Shadow Recruit (dir. Kenneth Branagh). At a time when regulators and citizens try to hold Wall Street accountable for the 2008 recession and the CIA accountable for torture, Jack Ryan turns Wall Street into a victim and the CIA into a model husband. It does so with all the slick im/plausibility of a thriller—and it uses the Bible to boost its case.

Civil Rights

  • An inconvenient child

    My six-year-old son was suspended as a danger to others. His crime? A disability you could find in any classroom

Greenwald et al.

  • Don’t Mess With Glenn Greenwald

    Clearly, there’s an officially sanctioned, if not supported, backlash underway to cast doubt on the those who are disseminating the information that Eward Snowden and other whistleblowers are exposing to the global public.

    What better way to respond to the evidence of government overreach and criminality in the spying by the NSA and other agencies than to try to change the subject by smearing the people who are funding the reporting on it to us.

    This latest round of the media battle should not be surprising. In fact, it’s all too predictable.

    In the latest round, Lawyer and journalist Glenn Greenwald, the point person/interpreter for the majority of the Snowden disclosures, came under attack by indirection with a high profile smear on Pierre Omidyar, the E-Bay billionaire funding his new venture, First Look Media.

    Leading the charge publicly is one Patrick Ames, who writes for Pando News, a rival news agency funded by another Silicon Valley tech moneyman. He has gone after Greenwald before charging that he is profiting by selling state secrets.

Snowden et al.

  • The Silliest Snowden Theory Yet

    The main thing The Snowden Operation wants us to know is that “this affair has Kremlin fingerprints on it. They may be faint and smudged, but they are there.” Yes, Lucas acknowledges, it’s possible the Russians aren’t involved, “but not likely.” The naive might be fooled into thinking all was exactly what it appeared to be on the surface and Snowden was simply an NSA employee who reached out to journalists on his own. But sophisticated observers like Lucas, with “30 years of looking at Soviet and then Russian intelligence and propaganda operations,” see the truth. Maybe Snowden was recruited by the Russians to leak NSA documents and knew it was them doing the recruiting; maybe he was recruited by them but they fooled him into thinking they were someone more sympathetic; or maybe the Russians somehow “brokered an introduction” between Snowden and others who would encourage and publicize his leaks (i.e., journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras and hacker Jacob Appelbaum) without any of them being aware of the hidden Kremlin hand.

Assange

NSA Policy

  • 2008′s New and Improved EO 12333: Sharing SIGINT

    As part of my ongoing focus on Executive Order 12333, I’ve been reviewing how the Bush Administration changed the EO when, shortly after the passage of the FISA Amendments Act, on July 30, 2008, they rolled out a new version of the order, with little consultation with Congress. Here’s the original version Ronald Reagan issued in 1981, here’s the EO making the changes, here’s how the new and improved version from 2008 reads with the changes.

    While the most significant changes in the EO were — and were billed to be — the elaboration of the increased role for the Director of National Intelligence (who was then revolving door Booz executive Mike McConnell), there are actually several changes that affected NSA.

  • RSA: Bruce Schneier Discusses What Should be Done With the NSA

    Bruce Schneier is a legendary figure in the security community, well-known for his expertise in cryptography and more recently for his insight into the surveillance activities of the National Security Agency (NSA). Schneier currently serves as the CTO of incident response management vendor Co3 Systems.

FBI

  • How a Hacker Intercepted FBI and Secret Service Calls With Google Maps

    Earlier this week, Bryan Seely, a network engineer and one-time Marine, played me recordings of two phone calls (embedded below.) The calls were placed by unwitting citizens to the FBI office in San Francisco and to the Secret Service in Washington, D.C. Neither the callers nor the FBI or Secret Service personnel who answered the phone realized that Seely was secretly recording them. He used Google Maps to do it.

03.01.14

Another Day of High-Level Abuses: Microsoft Kinect a Target of Spooks, Apple-PRISM Allegations, Ukraine Interventions…

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News from the past 24 hours about British and US surveillance, assassination, and outside intervention in East Europe

NSA/GCHQ

  • Nothing To Hide: An anti-stealth game in which you are your own watchdog

    Nothing To Hide is an “anti-stealth game,” in which you must carry cameras and spy gear to live in a world of self-surveillance and self-censorship. A world where you’re made to be your own watchdog. Released for The Day We Fight Back, the game is now seeking crowdfunding to complete the open source game—10% of what’s raised will first go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Demand Progress, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

  • Let’s point a satellite at GCHQ and the NSA, and see how they feel

    Psssst! Wanna come in on a private satellite with me? They’re available, and they cost about $2m a year to run, so it would need an awful lot of us to club together via Kickstarter or some such.George Clooney’s got one. He trains it between Sudan and South Sudan, keeping a particular eye on the Hague-wanted president Omar al-Bashir, and uses the footage to draw attention to human rights violations. But in the wake of news that the Optic Nerve programme targeted and retained the webcam images of 1.8m UK internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, I’d like you to consider pointing ours somewhere pointed, such as the NSA or GCHQ. Just their car parks would do.

  • How to foil the NSA and GCHQ with strong encryption

    THE MOST INTERESTING DEVICE shown at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week was the secure Blackphone developed by Silent Circle and Geeksphone.

  • This lecture is the one primer you need on NSA surveillance technology
  • Wiliest Ways to Keep the NSA at Bay

    “Whatever the level of cryptography you’re using, the NSA can probably break into your home network, install keyloggers and grab whatever they want — passwords, private PGP keys, screenshots, etc.,” said Cyril Soler, a developer on the RetroShare project. “This is always easier than breaking the encryption.” Their ability to do that is probably facilitated by backdoors.

  • Lavabit’s Ladar Levison on Snowden, Why He Shut Down, and How to Beat the NSA

    Levison was prohibited from discussing any details of the case until last October, when the court unsealed a portion of the documents. The unsealed records reveal that the FBI was demanding access to Lavabit’s Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) keys, which would essentially allow the agency access to all messages on Lavabit’s server. While the FBI was ostensibly targeting only a single user, Levison was unwilling to sacrifice the privacy of his other 400,000+ users.

  • Coviello ducks big questions and sticks to his script

    This year’s RSA Conference began with controversy. Even before Chairman Art Coviello took the stage to deliver his opening keynote, protesters unfurled banners on the Moscone Center reminding the world of RSA’s alleged complicity in enabling the NSA to access data that was believed to be secure.

    However, after an interview with Coviello, we are no closer to any meaningful information as he does a skilful job of obfuscating and avoiding questions regarding the NSA.

Webcams

Microsoft

  • Are the N.S.A. and G.C.H.Q. Trading Webcam Pictures?

    G.C.H.Q. was apparently also interested in tapping into Microsoft’s Kinect.

  • Xbox 360′s Kinect Evaluated as Surveillance Tool by British Intelligence Agency

    The Kinect for Xbox 360 was once considered for its potential use as a mass surveillance tool by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), according to documents published by The Guardian.

    The GCHQ is the British equivalent to the United States’ NSA.

    The information comes from documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. They document a program entitled “Optic Nerve” that collected images of users through their webcams, including users of Yahoo chats between 2008 and 2010.

Messaging

  • Tor developing anonymous instant messenger

    The instant messenger is still in the early planning stages, but Tor’s developers seem to be preparing to turn it around quickly. The messenger will be built on Instantbird, an existing open-source messenger, and development will largely involve adding in Off-the-Record Messaging encryption, making it send its messages over Tor, and stripping it of some automated logging and reporting features. Tor hopes to have its first step of work on the messaging app completed by the end of March, but it doesn’t draw a timeline for the project out from there.

  • Tor is building an anonymous instant messenger

    Tor, the team behind the world’s leading online anonymity service, is developing a new anonymous instant messenger client, according to documents produced at the Tor 2014 Winter Developers Meeting in Reykjavík, Iceland.

    The Tor Instant Messaging Bundle (TIMB) is set to work with the open-source InstantBird messenger client in experimental builds released to the public by March 31, 2014. The developers aim to build in encrypted off-the-record chatting and then bundle the client with the general Tor Launcher in the following months.

  • Goosestep Foot Forward

    Sutton displays precisely the mind-set of the security state, that led GCHQ to intercept the webcam chats of 1.4 million completely random British people, in the hope of finding Islamic terrorists. (They didn’t find any terrorists, but they did look at over 100,000 people masturbating). Sutton states that Begg must be a terrorist because ”a convicted Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA) supporter identified as ‘D’ ” had used Begg’s bookshop. And he calls me “conspiratorial”! The poor man must see terrorists everywhere. The fact that Moazzam Begg is now detained again, had been detained for years, has had everything belonging to him searched microscopically, and nothing has ever been found to justify a criminal charge of any kind, means nothing to witchfinder Sutton. That anti-Muslim bigot is plainly convinced of Moazzam Begg’s guilt, though as he has not been charged, of what is unsure.

Simon Phipps on Spying

  • Hope in Federations

    Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp gains them almost half a billion users worth of telephone data

  • Facebook’s Global Telco Dream

    Maybe there’s more to the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp than just the centralised consolidation of users and user information that Simon denounced in his previous InfoWorld article . Perhaps this particular addition to their portfolio is Facebook’s move towards becoming the first truly global telco!

  • Surveillance Impact Not Just Personal

    Knowing we could be watched, as Jeremy Bentham observed, changes our behaviour; specifically, it chills our creativity. This in turn affects innovation and hence the economy. More directly, businesses (like RSA) are harmed by the disclosure of their for-profit collusion.

ORG

  • ICO Survey on the Code of Practice on Anonymisation

    Asking for comments and feedback on the code is a positive move, but the survey is not balanced to capture a variety of opinions. For example it asks whether the code explains the benefits of anonymisation, but not whether it explains the risks. And it doesn’t.

Apple

[First, watch AOL promoting the fiction that iMessage is secure. It's not alone.]

Alexander

  • Limit surveillance to ‘terrorist communication,’ says outgoing NSA boss

    General Keith Alexander, the soon-to-be departed chief of the NSA, admitted Thursday in front of a congressional committee that the massive intelligence agency may be open to extracting less, or more targeted metadata from communication companies.

    Classified documents leaked last summer by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the intelligence agency currently compels at least three major telephone providers – Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T – to turn over call information on millions of Americans. Among that information, known as metadata, is the duration of the call, the time the call was made, who the phone call was to, and where it originated.

Ukraine and Intervention

  • Vicky Nuland Gets Her New Government in Ukraine

    “Yats is the guy,” said Obama’s potty-mouthed Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, in a recorded and widely disseminated discussion with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine earlier this year. She was referring to Arseni Yatsenyuk, the former foreign and economics minister who was confirmed as the interim Prime Minister of Ukraine today.

  • Ukraine was a Playbook CIA Coup d’état

    The very first act of the western-backed insurrectionists which represent a small percentage of the population and have managed to overthrow the government was to attempt rob Russian speakers in Ukraine of their language.

  • Armed Men Seize Control of Airports in Crimea, Ukraine

    Yanukovych is now in Russia and is expected to hold a news conference today. Meanwhile, the United States is rejecting claims that the change in power in Ukraine constitutes a coup. On Thursday, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said Yanukovych had “abdicated his responsibilities” and “undermined his legitimacy” by fleeing Kiev. Carney outlined U.S. plans to work with the new government.

  • Former pilot for Air America talks about work in Laos during Vietnam War

    But the secretive agency is no newcomer to American combat zones. In Vietnam, a war without battle lines, it played a behind-the-scenes role in advancing American interests.

  • What Does a Soviet Submarine Have to Do With U.S. Government Secrecy?

    Soon, intrepid journalists get wind of the operation and file Freedom of Information Act requests for more information. A CIA lawyer — operating under the cover name Walt Logan — thinks up a novel way to keep the mission secret without telling an all-out lie: refuse to confirm or deny whether records about the Glomar Explorer’s mission exist. One journalist sues over this confusing non-response, and a battle over government secrecy follows in court.

    [...]

    There are limited circumstances in which a Glomar response may be necessary to protect veritable government secrets, but as I’ve written before in The New York Times (with Jameel Jaffer) and in the NYU Law Review, it has been deployed far beyond acceptable bounds. Perhaps most disturbing is the way the government uses Glomar to facilitate selective and misleading disclosures. Government officials often “leak” information to the press that paints controversial programs in a positive light on the condition that the press withholds their names. But when asked to officially release records under FOIA, those officials clam up and hide behind the Glomar response. The result is an absurd double standard, and our democracy suffers for it.

Civil Rights

Drones

  • The Clear and Convincing Standard and Citizen Drone Strikes
  • I Was Beaten, Tortured: Pakistani Anti-Drone Activist Karim Khan on Being Abducted by Masked Men

    Pakistani anti-drone activist Karim Khan was abducted February 5, just before he was due to travel to Europe to speak out about U.S. drone strikes. He joins us to describe how he was held for nine days. During that time he says he was repeatedly tortured and beaten. In 2009, a U.S. drone killed Khan’s brother and son. He joins us from London, where he traveled to to meet with British lawmakers to raise concerns about the U.S. drone program. “They attacked our mosques, they attacked our schools, they attacked our schoolchildren, they attacked our teachers,” Khan says. “So everything is completely destroyed by these drone strikes.” We also speak with Khan’s lawyer, Shahzad Akbar. “This is what the human face of the victim is, and it is important that the American people are told about who these people are,” Akbar says. “They are being targeted in the name of national security, [but] what we see on the ground is that it is not really serving the national security interests of anyone.”

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