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02.28.14

Privacy and Human Rights Watch: Peeping Crown, Extradition, EU Resistance to Drones, and More

Posted in News Roundup at 5:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest (past 24 hours) stories about eroding human rights (exploiting transitions to digital), especially privacy rights

GCHQ

UK

Reform/Legal

Local Action

Algorithms

Alexander

‘Metadata’

Amazon/CIA

  • Amazon’s Cloud Keeps Growing Despite Fears of NSA Spying

    When former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was conducting digital surveillance on a massive scale, many feared for the future of cloud computing. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation estimated that Snowden’s revelations could cost U.S. cloud companies $22 billion to $35 billion in foreign business over the next three years, and countless pundits predicted that American businesses would flee the cloud as well. People would prefer to run software and store data on their own computers, the argument went, rather than host their operations atop outside services potentially compromised by the NSA.

Civil Rights

  • Under Obama, rule of law slowly eroding

    If President Barack Obama gets his way, five American citizens will have become victims of announced “targeted assassinations” by the military and CIA. Coupled with disturbing statements by United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it is evident that the principle of the rule of law has lost force in the past few decades, especially after 9/11.

    [...]

    It was enshrined in the American, British and French Revolutions as sacred, and is an essential precept of liberalism.

  • Massive Impediments Standing in the Way of Solving America’s Greatest Problems

    *Eliminate the National Surveillance Agency, the NSA; completely stop the enormous spying on the American people. Take the other 12 U.S. intelligence agencies and combine their functions into one. We have the CIA and the FBI and Homeland Security to monitor imminent or longer term dangers to this country.

  • The Five Commandments of Barack Obama: How “Thou Shalt Not” Became “Thou Shalt”
  • Tomgram: Karen Greenberg, Obama’s Commandments

    Think of us as having two presidents. One, a fellow named Barack Obama, cuts a distinctly Clark Kent-ish figure. In presiding over domestic policy, he is regularly thwarted in his desires by the Republicans in Congress and couldn’t until recently get his most basic choices for government positions or the judiciary through the Senate. For the most minimal look of effectiveness, he has to rely on relatively small gestures by executive order. In the recent history of the American presidency, he is a remarkably powerless figure presiding over what everyone who is a media anyone claims is a riven, paralyzed, even broken government structure, one in which the Republicans are intent on ensuring that a Democratic president can do nothing until they take the White House (which is almost guaranteed to be never). What this president wants, almost by definition, he can’t have. He is, as Guardian columnist Gary Younge wrote recently, a man who’s lost the plot line to his own story and has been relegated to the position of onlooker-in-chief.

  • Politics, not law, has become the master of British justice

    There is one law for their terrorists and another for ours. “Theirs” kill a soldier in Woolwich and get slammed up for life. They get a verbal lynching from the red-tops, with Rot in Jail headlines and screams the rope would be too good for them, the filth and scum. “Our” terrorists get royal pardons and “letters of assurance”, even if, as may be the case, they slaughter four soldiers and eight horses in cold blood in Hyde Park. That is how it must seem to many people.

  • US biggest violator of non-Americans’ human rights: China report

    The Untied States is the world’s biggest violator of human rights of non-American persons and has been strongly condemned for conducting surveillance and prisoner torture around the globe, a report on US human rights said Friday.

    The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2013 was released by the Information Office of China’s State Council, or the Cabinet, in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 issued by the US State Department on Thursday.

  • Chinese Cabinet report questions US human rights record

    China has hit back at the US over the human rights debate alleging the “world judge of human rights” has serious question marks hanging over its own record.

    [...]

    Washington has long “made arbitrary attacks and irresponsible remarks” on the human rights situation in almost 200 countries and regions again in its just-released reports, the Chinese report says.

    “However, the US carefully concealed and avoided mentioning its own human rights problems,” it adds.

    Chinese ally Russia has also repeatedly said the United States has no right to claim a mantle of moral leadership. Moscow has criticized Washington sharply over human rights, pointing to secret CIA jails abroad and treatment of inmates at the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba and elsewhere.

Drones

  • U.S. Militant, Hidden, Spurs Drone Debate

    Mr. Shami, a militant who American officials say is living in the barren mountains of northwestern Pakistan, is at the center of a debate inside the government over whether President Obama should once again take the extraordinary step of authorizing the killing of an American citizen overseas.

  • Landslide vote in European Union condemning U.S. drone use

    European Union Members of Parliament condemned the use of drones in targeted killings in a vote of 534 to 49. The vote proposing a ban referred to the drone strikes as “unlawful.”

  • Pakistan Party Ends Blockade Of NATO Route

    Activists of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, led by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, had blocked the route from the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar for the past three months in a protest over U.S. drone strikes.

  • MEPs concerned about EU drone programme

    Increased European research on unmanned aircraft is making the European Parliament nervous.

Military

Open Hardware and Shareable Design News

Posted in News Roundup at 3:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recent news about hardware that can be modified and it permissive in that regard

SkyNet

  • Chris Anderson’s Expanding Drone Empire

    At the former Wired editor’s start-up, 3D Robotics, open-source robots take to the skies

  • Out in the Open: Automate Your Home With Your Own Personal SkyNet

    In the meantime, he’s hard at work on a new project called SkyNet Firmware, which will run on the open source Arduino circuit boards, devices you can use to build all sorts of computerized gadgets. “The idea is that you can load SkyNet Firmware on any Arduino compatible device or board,” he says. “The Arduino connects to SkyNet and just waits for commands.” This would let you attach almost anything to SkyNet.

3D Printers

  • MakerBot’s Creative Revolution Runs on Linux

    At the forefront of the 3D printing boom for consumers is MakerBot, whose Linux-based Replicator printers sell for between $1,300 and $3,000 and are small enough to sit on your desktop. Their MakerWare design software runs on any platform and the Thingiverse online community allows more than 13,000 users to download or upload designs in an open source, collaborative model for do-it-yourself manufacturing, according to a sponsored post in The Atlantic.

  • Openknit: a Reprap-inspired open source knitting machine
  • The force of gravity still applies for 3D printers

    So far, in short, I can describe 3D printing as: Building an object, by depositing layers, and creating every layer by drawing it with melted plastic. The key to understanding 3D printing, and thus learning how to do it better, is to think about the objects as a stack of layers. Then, consider how the layers will look like as they are being stacked.

Charles Babcock’s Series of Articles

  • Open-Source Cloud Hardware Grows Up Fast
  • Open Hardware Is Like Linux: True Or False?

    References to Linux come up naturally because it is one of the most successful, sustained, and adopted open-source software projects. New releases of the Linux kernel now appear every 70 days. Each contains up to 10,000 updates and patches, a rate of change that equals 7.14 an hour. Linux’s fame rests not on the fact that it’s frequently modified. Rather, it’s frequently modified and also respected as having a long-term future in the enterprise datacenter. The way things are shaping up, it also very likely has a permanent place in cloud architectures.

  • Open-Source Hardware: Prepare For Disruption

    Facebook, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and other leading IT users think the open-source movement is ready to shake up the hardware industry the way Linux did in software.

Misc.

02.27.14

Links 27/2/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 27/2/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 11:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 27/2/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Erosion of Rights: Latest Headlines

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Surveillance, assassination, coups, and human rights abuses (some of the very latest bits of news on these subjects)

Privacy

  • Heidi Boghosian on Mass Surveillance

    Mike Lofgren’s exceptional essay, “Anatomy of the Deep State,” delivers the roadmap that bewildered Americans need to navigate the past year’s glut of news about mass surveillance. The term “Deep State” aptly conveys how the private security industry has melded with government. It is soldered by plutocracy, perpetual war, reduction of industrial capacity, US exceptionalism and political malfunction. Lofgren is a credible and welcome interpreter of how these factors combine to exert control over us.

  • There’s Really Bad Stuff Buried in Those ‘Terms and Conditions’ You’re Expected Not to Read and Just Click Yes on

    Last month, I had a chance to talk with John McAfee, the founder of the popular McAfee computer security programs.

    We talked about how people usually don’t read the terms and conditions of the smartphone applications that they download onto their phones.

    But McAfee did read the terms and conditions of the Bank of America smartphone application, and what he saw was pretty shocking.

  • German telecom firm to roll out text, voice encryption app

    Deutsche Telekom plans to launch an app for smartphones that encrypts voice and text messages. The move is the latest step taken by the firm to address users’ privacy concerns following NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden’s, mass surveillance revelations.

    The cloud-based app will encrypt each voice or text exchange between two devices using a unique code, Reuters cites Deutsche Telekom as saying in a statement.

PRISM

  • How Will WhatsApp Coexist With a Company Whose Business It Hates?
  • Current distribution of WhatsApp alternatives

    WhatsApp was already bad before Facebook acquired it. But at least now people woke up and are considering alternatives. Yes, this move could have come earlier, but I do welcome the new opportunity: its the first time wide spread encryption actually has a chance in the consumer market. So for most of the people out there the question is more “which alternative should I use” instead of “should I use one”. Right now I do not have the faintest idea what alternative will make the break through – but you could say I am well prepare.

Snowden

  • FISA, the NSA, and America’s Secret Court System
  • Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Courts

    Many commentators following the NSA scandals have been eagerly awaiting the recommendations of the US government task force on the matter, and the proposed reforms to be implemented by President Obama to bring the spy agency under control. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, you can watch the president’s recent speech and nod your head approvingly when he talks about the “tradition of limited government” in the United States, and the constitutional limits his government is at pains to respect. Oh, and just for good measure, while you’re listening to this magnificent oration being replayed to you on YouTube, the NSA will be recording your internet browser history, or possibly even hacking your computer.[1] If you decide to click on the “like” or “dislike” buttons at the bottom of the video, that little nugget of political information can be added to their “metadata” archives, along with the rest of your internet activities. In fact, in the 42 minutes it will take you to watch the president’s speech, the NSA will have hoovered up around 40 million records of internet browsing from around the world.[2] Perhaps yours will be among them.

  • George Brandis refuses to back up claim that Snowden put lives at risk

    Attorney general says he is aware of particular cases on the basis of intelligence briefings but will not reveal the information

  • The Rise of the Ethical Hacktivist

    The main problem with hacktivism “remains with the legislators and officials who fail to see things in analog-equivalent terms,” said Piratpartiet’s Rick Falkvinge. “If getting documents to a reporter was OK in the pre-Internet age as part of our checks and balances on power, then it has to be OK in the digital age, too.” Yet “many powerholders freak out at the slightest occurrence of pentesting.”

  • Snowden 2.0: Is There a New Active Duty NSA Whistleblower?

    Perhaps one of the most striking and revelatory aspects about the latest NSA surveillance news story, this one published Sunday by The Bild am Sonntag newspaper in Germany, was that it was not based on leaked documents from the now famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    What the paper reported, based on information provided by a “high-ranking NSA employee in Germany,” was that the U.S. spy agency—after being outed for spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel—responded to an order to refrain from spying directly on Merkel’s phone by intensifying its monitoring of other high-level officals her government.

  • ​Post-WikiLeaks, Manning, Snowden world brighter for freedom fighters
  • NSA Inspector General Speaks on Snowden for First Time, Says He Was ‘Manic in His Thievery’

    During a day-long conference at the Georgetown University Law Center, Dr. George Ellard, the inspector general for the National Security Agency, spoke for the first time about the disclosures made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

NSA

  • NSA Wants to Keep Phone Records Longer Because of Privacy Lawsuits
  • Justice Dept: We Need to Keep NSA Call Data ‘Indefinitely’

    When the NSA sweeps up your telephone data, including who you call, when you call them, and for how long, they don’t keep that data forever. The deal with the secret FISA courts gives them five years to hold on to your data, then they’re supposed to delete it.

  • Obama Requests NSA Phone Records Not Be Deleted

    Obama’s first change to the NSA phone records is to keep more of them – as evidence against the NSA

  • Q&A: Schneier on trust, NSA spying and the end of US internet hegemony

    Are you worried that you are personally under surveillance?

    Yes, 100 per cent: I’m a target. If the FBI tried to get a warrant on my computer based on the fact that I have worked with Snowden documents then the odds they would get it are 100 per cent. And I do take pains. But look at that NSA Tailored Access Operations catalogue from 2008. The fact that I’m running an air-gapped computer is irrelevant – if the NSA wanted in, they would get in.

    The reason they are not is because they know that if it ever got out that they attacked US journalists, the shit-storm would be ginormous. I do think the NSA tries to follow the law, and the Attorney General has said [the US government] is not going to prosecute the journalists.

  • NSA spying revelations just the tip of the iceberg

    Tom Engelhardt has a lengthy article in TomDispatch that explores the depth of the US national security state. He argues that people are deluded to think that whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, and Julian Assange revealed the depth of spying in the US.

  • Arizona Anti-NSA Legislative Panel Vote Monday – Arizonans Calls Needed

    We just received notice that SB1156, the Arizona 4th Amendment Protection Act will have a rules committee hearing and vote on MONDAY at 1pm.

  • How to stop the NSA collection of your data: Turn the water off

    The NSA has taken snooping to a new level with the news that the Orwellian big brother of the U.S. Government wants to create a “national license-plate recognition database.”

    The Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) stressed that the database “could only be accessed in conjunction with ongoing criminal investigations or to locate wanted individuals.”

  • Lawsuit: Attempted Entrapment of Activists by Military Officer & Further Evidence of Domestic Spying

    A lawsuit challenging domestic military spying against citizens engaged in antiwar activism and acts of civil disobedience obtained a public record that further confirms the United States Army was involved in targeting “leftists” or “anarchists” as domestic terrorists in 2007.

    Also, according to a “Democracy Now!” interview, one of the activists was pressured by the military officer, who infiltrated groups in the state of Washington, to become more interested in guns and to even publish an article in a magazine that was written from the perspective of hijackers behind the 9/11 attacks.

  • Schneier: NSA snooping tactics will be copied by criminals in 3 to 5 years

    If you thought NSA snooping was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet: online criminals have also been watching and should soon be able to copy the agency’s invasive surveillance tactics, according to security guru Bruce Schneier.

  • Poll: What’s The NSA Scandal Done To Your Attitudes?

    Now surveillance by governments has been exposed, has the NSA scandal affected your trust for leading Internet brands?

  • Former White House Cybersecurity Chief Criticizes NSA

    Richard Clarke, the first cybersecurity czar at the White House, said Tuesday that “terrible” internal cybersecurity at the National Security Agency was responsible for allowing former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to download about 1.5 million classified documents.

  • Richard Clarke: Potential for American ‘police state’ created by NSA
  • IE zero-day exploit being used in widespread attacks

    The number of attacks exploiting a yet-to-be-patched vulnerability in Internet Explorer has increased dramatically over the past few days, indicating the exploit is no longer used just in targeted attacks against particular groups of people.

    The vulnerability affects Internet Explorer 9 and 10 and was publicly revealed on Feb. 13 by researchers from security firm FireEye who found an exploit for the flaw being served from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) website. Security researchers from security firm Websense later reported that the same vulnerability was being exploited from the compromised website of French aerospace association GIFAS (Groupement des Industries Francaises Aeronautiques et Spatiales).

  • Apple security flaw could be a backdoor for the NSA

    Was the National Security Agency exploiting two just-discovered security flaws to hack into the iPhones and Apple computers of certain targets? Some skeptics are saying there is cause to be concerned about recent coincidences regarding the NSA and Apple.

  • Obama assessing four alternatives to NSA phone data collection: WSJ

    The Obama administration has been presented with four wide-ranging options on how to reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone data collection program — including doing away it altogether — according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Citing officials close to the matter, the Journal reports that intelligence officials presented the options ahead of the March 28th deadline that President Barack Obama set forth in a speech about NSA reform earlier this year.

  • N.Y. man’s prosecution in terrorism case relied partly on surveillance done without a warrant

    Jaffer, who argued the Supreme Court case on behalf of the plaintiffs, said that questions remain about how the Justice Department arrived at its initial policy. “They don’t actually explain how they could have concluded that it was lawful to conceal the role that the FISA Amendments Act played in criminal investigations,” he said. “They haven’t explained their prior policy or how they arrived at it.’’

  • NSA surveillance: A new door to court challenges?

    The government is notifying some defendants accused of terrorism that it used more National Security Agency surveillance than it disclosed during their court proceedings.

  • RSA chairman defends company’s links with the NSA

    Art Coviello says security company’s relationship is strictly above board as he calls for the breakup of the NSA into separate organisations

  • Utah can still tax NSA, but probably won’t

    After long debate over whether to give the NSA Data Center a $6 million tax break on its electric bill, the Senate passed a bill Tuesday that keeps the authority to tax the center intact, but makes it unlikely the state will ever actually levy the tax.

  • Amazon-CIA Cloud Contract Is A Recipe For Big Brother Hell, Warn Privacy Activists

    The slogan “Amazon and you’re done” may have just taken on a whole new meaning — at least for enemies of the state.

    Privacy advocates and media watchdogs are challenging a contract between Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, calling it a potentially “ominous” convergence of mass surveillance and perpetual war.

  • Three reasons everything (the toilet) needn’t be connected to the internet
  • Former CIA tech chief is on the prowl for big data & wearables startups (exclusive)
  • New assaults on American law — more shocking revelations about NSA spying

    In the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA’s most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate.

    This behavior constitutes the government’s assaults on the American legal system. Those assaults have been conducted thus far on two fronts, one of which is aimed at lawyers who represent foreign entities here in America, and the other is aimed at lawyers who represent criminal defendants against whom evidence has been obtained unlawfully and presented in court untruthfully.

GCHQ

Assassination by Drones

  • US drone war must be ‘brought into the light’ – video

    Kareem Khan’s brother and son were killed in a Pakistan drone strike in 2009. Now he is in the UK to meet MPs and tells Channel 4 News “most drone strikes are killing innocent people”.

  • European complicity in US drone strikes must be stopped, MEPs to warn

    A draft resolution sponsored by the Green group of MEPs and enjoying cross-party support will be debated today (26 February) and voted on tomorrow between 12 and 2pm. The resolution condemns the extrajudicial killings resulting from drone strikes, notes an increase in strikes in recent years in places like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and demands full transparency from those Member States that possess drones technology (including the UK).

  • Op-Ed: Report shows Yemen drone strike likely broke guidelines

    Human Rights Watch issued a 28-page report investigating the attack in December 2013 on a wedding procession in Yemen. The attack killed at least 12 men and wounded at least 15 others including the bride.

  • Obama Drones On: The Slaughter of Pakistani Civilians

    President Obama should be justly haunted by the slaughter of innocents, especially the ones he has personally condemned to death on untested evidence. But it’s hard to imagine him actually being haunted by any of his lethal failures, perhaps least of all by innocents condemned by the mere turning down of his imperial thumb in these or any other circumstances. The Nobel Peace Prize winner hardly sounds haunted when he’s quoted saying, “Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”

  • Drone strikes on foreign soil are difficult to justify

    On Feb. 10, mass media were embroiled with an intense debate. The debate was about the United States government’s possible drone strike on a U.S. citizen who lives abroad. The target is not just an ordinary U.S. citizen, but a terrorist affiliated with al-Qaeda who happens to hold a U.S. citizenship due to his original place of birth.

    My question is: Why would the government even discuss conducting such an extreme measure? Why wouldn’t they just send some UDT/NAVY SEAL teams to capture him and bring him to American soil for judicial proceedings? Under what authority and right can the government of the United States attempt to kill an American citizen by bombing without a trial or judicial review, ignoring fundamental human rights, not to mention the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments? What happened to “due process” and “right in judicial proceedings?” There are so many questions to be answered, and I would like to narrate several points mentioned from a CNN debate, and past statements of government officials.

  • Forecasts of terrorist apocalypse? Never mind
  • LETTER: Thoughts about proposed cuts to defense

    On my way to work one morning this week, I was listening to Fox News on Sirius. Bill Hemmer was interviewing Ralph Peters, a retired lieutenant colonel. The two were complaining the Defense Department was proposing cuts to our troop levels. Currently, they said, our army has 520K members, but now defense is proposing cutting it “about a 100K down to 440K-450K.” They then stated how Turkey will have a bigger army than us.

    I knew this was untrue. When I got to work and looked up the numbers, I found that Turkey has 450K active duty and 378K reserves. We have 1.4 million active and 850K reserves. The report was beyond misleading as it was comparing just our Army to Turkey’s full force. I could say we have a smaller force than Cambodia if I only counted our Coast Guard. This wasn’t misleading, it was outright deceitful.

    We also spend more than the next 10 countries combined in our military. And sorry, but I don’t think one Turkish soldier is equal to an American soldier. We have the best jets, tanks, ships, carriers, soldiers, seamen, airmen, and let’s not forget the Marines.

    [...]

    On a different note, but one rarely discussed: Do we think the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Gitmo and drones make us more safe or are terrorist organizations using these as propaganda to recruit more terrorists?

Torture

  • Moazzam Begg a Political Prisoner Again

    What the British state did to me for opposing their torture programme was bad enough, but nothing to what Moazzam suffered. Yet he is much less embittered than I am.

  • Lisa Hajjar talks about torture in Guantanamo Bay

    Lisa Hajjar, a sociologist from University of California, Santa Barbara, presented a lecture Feb. 24 discussing her research about the military commission trial at Guantanamo Bay for the men responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    “Let’s Go to Guantanamo! An On-the-Ground Perspective on the 9/11 Trial” was an in-detail discussion of 9/11 accountability, the issue of secret prisons and CIA torture.

Benghazi

  • Karl Rove: House Panel Must Press for Benghazi Answers

    In an op-ed piece in the online Wall Street Journal on Wednesday night, Rove, once President George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff, said it would be too difficult for Congress to get National Security Adviser Susan Rice to testify under oath — and he blasted her expressed lack of regret Sunday for having said at the time that the siege was a result of protests against an offensive video denigrating Islam.

  • Rove: The Endless Benghazi Coverup

Ukraine

  • Is the Rebellion in Ukraine Really Aimed at Creating a National Socialist State?

    The award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal is exactly right to suggest, as he does in his recent AlterNet piece, that the U.S. has ties to Nazi and fascist protesters in Ukraine. The CIA agrees with him, and so did George Bush Sr. The only difference in their appraisal is the use of the term Neo-Nazi , rather than Nazi. It is just too hard for anyone to fathom that large communities of World War II Nazis not only survived, but have thrived and been protected all these years in Lviv (a city and provincial district in western Ukraine), the USA, and Canada.

  • Neocons and the Ukraine Coup

    American neocons helped destabilize Ukraine and engineer the overthrow of its elected government, a “regime change” on Russia’s western border. But the coup – and the neo-Nazi militias at the forefront – also reveal divisions within the Obama administration, reports Robert Parry.

  • Ukraine and the “Politics of Anti-Semitism”: The West Upholds Neo-Nazi Repression of Ukraine’s Jewish Community

    The US and the EU are supporting the formation of a coalition government integrated by Neo-Nazis which are directly involved in the repression of the Ukrainian Jewish community.

  • Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Declare that Power Comes Out of the Barrels of their Guns

    The Washington-paid schemers are now reaping their just reward as they sit in craven silence while neo-nazi Muzychko wielding an Ak-47 challenges government officials to their face: “I dare you take my gun!”

FBI/Police

  • NSA reform advocates oppose White House proposal to hand data to FBI

    Jim Sensenbrenner among those concerned by proposals on the table and says stance to end bulk surveillance is ‘unwavering’

  • Everyone is after personal data, not just the NSA
  • Forget the NSA, the LAPD Spies on Millions of Innocent Folks

    Edward Snowden ripped the blinds off the surveillance state last summer with his leak of top-secret National Security Agency documents, forcing a national conversation about spying in the post-9/11 era. However, there’s still no concrete proof that America’s elite intelligence units are analyzing most Americans’ computer and telephone activity — even though they can.

    Los Angeles and Southern California police, by contrast, are expanding their use of surveillance technology such as intelligent video analytics, digital biometric identification and military-pedigree software for analyzing and predicting crime. Information on the identity and movements of millions of Southern California residents is being collected and tracked.

Civil Rights

  • Does Life Mean Life? – The Fight over Whole Life Tariffs

    As has been widely reported (BBC, Daily Mail, Guardian, Telegraph) the Court of Appeal has approved the use of “whole life tariffs” for murderers, seemingly contradicting the European Court of Human Rights. But as the reporting seems to miss some of subtleties of the judgment it is worth a closer look.

02.26.14

Kernel News: 3.14 Release Candidate 4, Systemd 209, AMD Free Software, More Benchmarks

Posted in News Roundup at 3:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Roundup of Linux (kernel) news from the past few days, including some rather exciting announcements

Graphics Stack

  • AMD Press Talks Up Major Open-Source Linux Driver Features

    Good news: AMD’s press / global communications team is finally talking up their open-source Linux graphics driver features. Bad news: they appear to still need lots of training over their own Linux graphics drivers. Or is there some Linux driver shake-up happening? Here’s some of what they are promoting right now with the AMD Linux graphics driver.

  • The NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti Maxwell Continues Running Great On Linux

    Back on Tuesday I delivered a launch-day review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti on Linux. This first graphics card built on NVIDIA’s new Maxwell architecture has been running fantastic under Linux for being a mid-range graphics card. The GM107 GPU core found on the GTX 750 Ti is incredibly power efficient, as was shown in numerous articles on launch-day. For those curious more about the GeForce GTX 750 Ti Linux performance, here are some more OpenCL and OpenGL performance results.

  • Wayland’s Weston Adds Support For The Minimize Button

    Wayland clients running on the Weston compositor now have support for the minimize button.

    Clients using an XDG shell surface now support the state of being minimized with this Git commit on Tuesday.

  • Wayland multi-touch gets touchpad support
  • Broadwell Now Officially Enabled With Intel Mesa

    Broadwell support has been a work-in-progress on Linux for many months and most of the hardware enablement is complete. The Mesa driver has had mainline support for Intel Broadwell graphics for some time now, but only today is it being enabled by default and not hidden behind the Intel preliminary hardware support flag. The latest Broadwell work was with this commit and other changes.

Benchmarks

  • Linux 3.14 File-System HDD Benchmarks

    Early Linux 3.14 kernel benchmarks indicated there might be some slowdowns in disk/file-system performance for this next major kernel release. That early testing was done from an Intel ultrabook with solid-state drive while we’re now in the process of carrying out more focused testing of Linux 3.14 on both HDDs and SSDs. In this article are our first hard drive benchmarks from the Linux 3.14 Git kernel compared to the stable 3.12 and 3.13 kernels.

  • It Should Now Be Easier To Benchmark Steam Linux Games
  • PC-BSD 10.0 vs. PC-BSD 9.2 vs. Ubuntu 13.10 Benchmarks

    After running through some challenges in setting up PC-BSD/FreeBSD 10.0 and its many changes, here are benchmarks of the feature-rich operating system update. Benchmarks were done on the same laptop of PC-BSD 10.0, the former PC-BSD 9.2 release, and Ubuntu 13.10.

  • Ars walkthrough: Using the ZFS next-gen filesystem on Linux

    In my last article on next-gen filesystems, we did something in between a generic high altitude overview of next-gen filesystems and a walkthrough of some of btrfs’ features and usage. This time, we’re going to specifically look at what ZFS brings to the table, walking through getting it installed and using it on one of the more popular Linux distributions: Precise Pangolin. That’s the most current Long Term Service (LTS) Ubuntu release.

02.25.14

Abuses of Rights: News About Surveillance, Torture, and Assassination

Posted in News Roundup at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This week’s news about absence of legal adherence and other moral issues

Brazil and EU/Germany

  • NSA-dodging undersea cable to connect Brazil and EU

    The European Union and Brazil have agreed to lay a fibre-optic undersea communications cable across the Atlantic, between Lisbon and Fortaleza. The cable — which will cost $185 million (£110 million) — is designed to “guarantee the neutrality” of the internet and “enhance the protection of communications”.

  • Brazil plans undersea cable to Europe to avoid NSA spying in US
  • EU & Brazil to build undersea cable to thwart NSA snoopers
  • Why NSA Spying On The German Chancellor’s Aides Matters

    There was something of an international uproar last year when it was revealed that the NSA, in addition to snooping on its own citizens, had bugged the personal cell phone of Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. The prospect of the U.S. spying on the head of state of a country it supposedly considers an ally infuriated many, especially Merkel, and President Obama quickly promised to stop. That promise was quickly walked back by administration officials, and on Sunday, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported that the NSA is still tapping the phones of Merkel’s closest aides, including Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

Snowden and Judgment

  • Letter: Between Snowden and NSA, who’s the real criminal?

    Edward Snowden, who exposed these illegal activities — much like Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed the “Pentagon Papers” in the early 1970s — due probably to his conscience, is now a hunted man hiding in Russia. He is reviled by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. John McCain, to name a few.

    On Dec. 18, 2013, a panel gave the president 46 recommendations, all of which meant shut down the spying on American citizens.

    That same month, a federal judge ruled the NSA spying was unconstitutional.

  • New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To ‘Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations’

    A few weeks ago, Glenn Greenwald, while working with NBC News, revealed some details of a GCHQ presentation concerning how the surveillance organization had a “dirty tricks” group known as JTRIG — the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group. Now, over at The Intercept, he’s revealed the entire presentation and highlighted more details about how JTRIG would seek to infiltrate different groups online and destroy people’s reputations — going way, way, way beyond just targeting terrorist groups and threats to national security.

  • Government infiltrating websites to ‘deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive’

    Another slide lists ways to “discredit a target”: “Set up a honey-trap,” “Change their photos on social networking sites,” “Write a blog purporting to be one of their victims,” “Email/text their colleagues, neighbours, friends, etc.”

    There’s also a slide on how to discredit a business: “Leak confidential information to companies/the press via blogs etc,” “Post negative information on appropriate forums,” “Stop deals/ruin business relationships.”

Blackphone

Zuckerberg ‘Anger’

Google, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft

  • Google Joins Forces With NSA And DARPA As Military Contractor
  • Activists Challenge Amazon-CIA Relationship

    After Amazon signed a lucrative, long-term cloud computing contract with the CIA, concerns surfaced that the Internet giant might divulge customer information to the agency. So far, a petition for Amazon’s owner to address these concerns has gathered over 29,000 signatures.

  • IBM gobbles CIA-backed NoSQL database upstart Cloudant

    IBM is creeping towards the cloud, picking up startups on the way, including a NoSQL database company to fill in some of the perceived shortcomings of DB2.

    The acquisition of Cloudant was announced on Monday and will give IBM control of a NoSQL “database-as-a-service” (DBaaS) [As a service? What the hell was a database beforehand? A pleasure cruise? – Ed]. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

  • Microsoft Lync lets employers spy on employees NSA-style

    Microsoft’s Lync communications platform collects a surprising amount of sensitive, analyzable data about its users, making employers who use Lync privy to some very personal information about their employees.

    Software developer Event Zero told Microsoft’s Lync 2014 conference that by using call data collected by the platform, companies could analyze information to the point of discovering intimate personal details about employees’ lives, like which are dating one another, or who in the company may be looking for another job.

  • Prez Obama cyber-guru: Think your data is safe in an EU cloud? The NSA will raid your servers

    A former White House security advisor has suggested that you, dear reader, are naive if you think hosting data outside of the US will protect a business from the NSA.

    “NSA and any other world-class intelligence agency can hack into databases even if they not in the US,” said former White House security advisor Richard Clarke in a speech at the Cloud Security Alliance summit in San Francisco on Monday. “Non-US companies are using NSA revelations as a marketing tool.”

Security

Local Law

Torture

Air Strikes

  1. CIA chief made clandestine visit to Pakistan
  2. CIA chief made secret trip to Pakistan

    A senior security official confirmed to The Express Tribune that CIA Director John Brennan traveled to Islamabad last Friday and held meetings with Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and his Pakistani counterpart Lt General Zaheerul Islam.

    However, the official, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, insisted that he only ‘paid a courtesy call’ on the Army Chief. “It was a routine visit,” the official added.

  3. Hagel’s Pentagon budget plans for new ‘realities’ and fewer ground wars
  4. Proposed Pentagon budget cuts would shrink Army, retire aircraft

    The Obama administration’s proposals, some of which are likely to face resistance in Congress, reflect changing fortunes for once-sacrosanct defense spending.

Drones

  • Is the CIA Better Than the Military at Drone Killings?

    It’s been more than a year since incoming CIA Director John Brennan signaled his intention to shift drone warfare to the Pentagon as soon as possible. Brennan, a career spook, was said to be determined to restore the agency to its roots as an espionage factory, not a paramilitary organization. And President Obama endorsed his plan to hand drone warfare over to the military, according to administration officials.

    But a funny thing happened on the way back to cloak-and-dagger. According to intelligence experts and some powerful friends of the CIA on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the agency may simply be much better than the military at killing people in a targeted, precise way—and, above all, at ensuring that the bad guys they’re getting are really bad guys. And that distinction has become more important than ever at a time when Obama is intent on moving away from a “permanent war footing” and on restricting targeted killings exclusively to a handful of Qaida-linked senior terrorists.

  • Panel Explores US Drone Program

    The U.S. government’s drone use as a means to combat global terrorism was one of the main topics at an event hosted by the Amnesty International Chapters of Georgetown University and Georgetown Law Center on Sunday night in the Intercultural Center Auditorium.

Foreign Policy

  • U.S., Russia at Odds over Legitimacy in Ukraine

    Ukraine is delaying the formation of a new government until Thursday following the ouster of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych after months of protests that killed dozens of people. The Obama administration has indicated it no longer recognizes Yanukovych as Ukraine’s leader and has pledged financial support to Ukraine. President Yanukovych had come under fire for strengthening ties with Russia instead of Europe. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has rejected the interim government.

Police

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