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12.05.15

Links 6/12/2015: New Linux Mint Releases, No Ads in Firefox

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • From Closed Source to Open Source: A Journey

    Since joining GigaSpaces a few months ago, I thought it would be interesting to write down some thoughts about my experience on the journey from the closed-source, enterprise world to the open source, startup mentality of getting work done, both internally at the office as well as from a client-facing perspective.

  • Intel Open Sources Snap Cloud Telemetry Tool to Promote Cloud for All

    Intel’s latest move in its “Cloud for All” initiative — which it says will accelerate enterprise adoption of public, private and hybrid clouds — is an open source tool called snap, which helps organizations understand the telemetry of their clouds.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird 38.4.0 Brings A Bunch Of FIxes Only
      • Advancing Content

        One of the many benefits of the Web is the ability to create unique, personalized experiences for individual users. We believe that this personalization needs to be done with respect for the user – with transparency, choice and control. When the user is at the center of product experiences everyone benefits.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • What’s the Intersection of Docker and OpenStack? [VIDEO]

      OpenStack and Docker are both open source technologies with a lot of excitement and momentum behind them. But where is the intersection between Docker and OpenStack? And why isn’t Docker Inc part of the OpenStack Foundation?

      In a video interview, Ben Golub, CEO of Docker Inc. the lead commercial sponsor behind the open source Docker engine, explains where it all fits together.

      At a high-level, OpenStack is a popular widely deployed Infrastructure-as-a-Service open source platform, while Docker provide an open-source container technology to build, deploy and manage containers. Golub noted that organizations are using Docker together with various flavors of OpenStack from different vendors including HP, Red Hat and Mirantis.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Introducing the LibreOffice Online App for ownCloud

      While digging through the Internet, we’ve discovered that there’s now a LibreOffice application for the ownCloud open-source self-hosting cloud server, which lets users edit all sorts of LibreOffice documents online.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Reproducible builds and standalone GNU systems with Guix 0.9

      Version 0.9 of the Guix package-management system was released on November 5. Since the previous major release in 2014, the Guix project has evolved to include not only the package manager itself, but the Guix Software Distribution (GuixSD) as well. With the large set of packages it supports, Guix already provides, in essence, a full operating-system layer that can be deployed and maintained on top of a minimal core Linux distribution. GuixSD goes one step further, and provides a Linux kernel and core OS components as well. Regardless of whether one uses GuixSD or simply installs individual packages with the Guix tools, the new release adds quite a bit of interesting new functionality, including automatic container provisioning, new tools for graphing package dependencies, and a mechanism for users to verify reproducible software packages.

    • GIMP 2.9.2 Released

      We are excited to announce the first development release of GIMP in the 2.9.x series. It is another major milestone towards making GIMP a state-of-the art image editing application for graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, and scientists.

    • A CEO’s Guide to Emacs

      Years—no, decades—ago, I lived in Emacs. I wrote code and documents, managed email and calendar, and shelled all in the editor/OS. I was quite happy. Years went by and I moved to newer, shinier things. As a result, I forgot how to do tasks as basic as efficiently navigating files without a mouse. About three months ago, noticing just how much of my time was spent switching between applications and computers, I decided to give Emacs another try. It was a good decision for several reasons that will be covered in this post. Covered too are .emacs and Dropbox tips so that you can set up a good, movable environment.

    • Gimp 2.9.2 Released
    • Got a light? Help the FSF’s guiding light shine brighter

      For thirty years, the Free Software Foundation has been seen as a guiding light for the free software movement, fighting for computer user freedom worldwide — but we can’t continue this work without your support.

    • New GIMP, Ubuntu’s New Year’s Gift & More…
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • OpenHardware and code signing (update)

        I posted a few weeks ago about the difficulty of providing device-side verification of firmware updates, at the same time remaining OpenHardware and thus easily hackable. The general consensus was that allowing anyone to write any kind of firmware to the device without additional authentication was probably a bad idea, even for OpenHardware devices. I think I’ve come up with an acceptable compromise I can write up as a recommendation, as per usual using the ColorHug+ as an example. For some background, I’ve sold nearly 3,000 original ColorHug devices, and in the last 4 years just three people wanted help writing custom firmware, so I hope you can see the need to protect the majority is so much larger than making the power users happy.

  • Programming

    • How old were you when you started learning how to program?
    • So you think that you know what “hacker”means?

      Given the negative connotation of the term today, I recall my surprise when I first read (alas, the source has long been forgotten) that in the world of mainframe computer in the 1960′s, where the principal revenue stream were licensing fees for the hardware, “hacker” referred to a person who was encouraged to tinker with the software to improve its performance. After all, there was no or little money to be made in the software per se, so that any improvements in performance would only serve to enhance the value of the mainframe itself. Hacking appeared to be a beneficial activity in support of the hardware.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • This Scientist Uncovered Problems With Pesticides. Then the Government Started to Make His Life Miserable.

      Until fairly recently, Jonathan Lundgren enjoyed a stellar career as a government scientist. An entomologist who studies how agrichemicals affect the ecology of farm fields, he has published nearly 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals since starting at the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service laboratory in Brookings, South Dakota, in 2005. By 2012, he had won the ARS’s “Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist” award, and directorship of his own lab.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Missed Chance to Connect Paris Massacres, Past and Present

      It does no dishonor to those killed in Paris last month to acknowledge that at least 200 people were killed in that city on October 17, 1961. It was nearly seven years into the war for Algeria’s independence from French colonial rule, and some 30,000 Muslims demonstrated in central Paris against a curfew imposed solely on Muslims. They were met by a police force led by prefect Maurice Papon, who would later be charged with crimes against humanity for his collaborationist role in the World War II Vichy government.

    • Fox’s Megyn Kelly Attacks Attorney General For Promising To Address Violent Anti-Muslim Rhetoric
    • Yemen: Nine Wounded in Saudi-Led Coalition Airstrike on MSF Clinic in Taiz

      Airstrikes carried out yesterday by the Saudi-led coalition hit a clinic in southern Yemen run by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and wounded nine people, including two MSF staff members.

      According to local sources, at 11:20 a.m. local time on December 2, three airstrikes targeted a park in Taiz city’s Al Houban district, about two kilometers from MSF’s tented clinic. The MSF team immediately evacuated the Al Houban clinic and informed the Saudi-led coalition that their jet planes were mounting an attack nearby. The clinic itself then came under attack.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans’ Climate Change Denial Denial

      Future historians — if there are any future historians — will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. True, nothing agreed to in Paris will be enough, by itself, to solve the problem of global warming. But the talks could mark a turning point, the beginning of the kind of international action needed to avert catastrophe.

      Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.

      O.K., I know the reaction of many readers: How partisan! How over the top! But what I said is, in fact, the obvious truth. And the inability of our news media, our pundits and our political establishment in general to face up to that truth is an important contributing factor to the danger we face.

    • Is Indonesia underreporting its emissions at COP21?

      Official documentation submitted by Indonesia to the UN climate talks in Paris this week dramatically underestimates deforestation and emissions in the archipelago, according to an analysis by Greenpeace. However, not everyone agrees with Greenpeace’s assessment.

      The documentation’s omissions include 10 million hectares of deforestation, millions of hectares of peatland degradation and emissions from the annual farm and plantation fires, threatening to undermine Indonesia’s prospects for receiving international assistance for peatland protection and REDD+ schemes, according to the NGO.

      “The people of Indonesia deserve to know the truth about how much forest and peatland has been destroyed,” Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Annisa Rahmawati said. “Only from a truthful foundation can we build a solid climate plan for Indonesia.”

    • Climate deniers agree their key messages for journalists (with a journalist in the room)

      This afternoon, I went along to a fringe event in central Paris put on by the UK climate denier brigade. There were about 15 people – all older white men but for one woman, me, and Brendan Montague, editor of DesmogUK, with whom I’d arrived.

      Among the small number at PCC15, as they called their event, were a number of prominent figures from the movement against the scientific consensus on climate change. Patrick Moore, the controversial former director of Greenpeace who has questioned both whether global warming is man-made, and whether it is dangerous, was leaving as we arrived. UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew was there, as were Christopher Monckton, a prominent climate change denier, and Canadian Tom Harris, executive director of the “International Climate Science Coalition” – and former operations director of the “High Park Group”, a Canadian lobbying company. I was told we’d missed the journalist James Delingpole and Piers Corbyn (MD of WeatherAction and brother of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn)..

  • Censorship

    • Feds Drop Case Against Torrent Site, ‘Return’ Domain After 5 Years

      After more than five years the Department of Justice has released the Torrent-Finder.com domain, which is now back in the hands of the original owner. The authorities had a very weak case and decided to accept the torrent site’s “offer in compromise.”

    • Sharing of television news clips hangs in the fair-use balance

      All of this begs the question of what is fair use. It’s complicated, and there is no bright-line rule. “In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and ‘transformative’ purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work, according to Stanford University. “Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement.”

  • Privacy

    • My fridge is listening to me

      There is no presumption of privacy riding in a tour bus, so it probably isn’t illegal to listen-in. Bus security cameras and their footage have been around for years now and appear regularly on TV news after bus crimes. But there’s something about this idea of not only our actions being recorded but also our words that I find disturbing. It’s especially so when we consider the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT). What other devices will soon be snitching on us?

    • Responding to “Nothing to hide, Nothing to fear”

      Every time we talk about mass surveillance, privacy or the security services’ powers we and our supporters find ourselves at the other end of that familiar phrase, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear”. It’s time to challenge that.

    • German Parliament Spy Oversight Board Sues German Government Over Data Sharing With NSA

      After Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of spying being carried out around the world by the NSA and its Five Eyes friends, there have been a number of attempts in other countries to find out what has been going on. One of the most thoroughgoing of these is in Germany, where there is a major parliamentary inquiry into NSA activities in that country. As Techdirt reported back in May, a surprising piece of information to emerge from this is that Germany’s secret service has been carrying out spying on behalf of the NSA, which sent across various “selectors” — search terms — that it wanted investigated in the German spies’ surveillance databases.

    • A Journey Into the Heart of Facebook

      We are running late to the Facebook Data Center. I keep checking my watch, as if the seconds might start moving backwards if I stare hard enough. This is not a particularly safe way to drive. I am, apparently, more concerned with being late than I am with possibly totaling a car. Being late is far more heinous act.

    • Former Bush Press Secretary Says The Answer To Mass Shootings Is… More Domestic Surveillance

      The tragic shootings in San Bernadino earlier this week have created a political field day for the usual idiotic partisan arguments — which tend to have little to nothing to do with whatever actually happened. You have people on one side using it to call for gun control and folks on the other side using it to spark fears of “domestic terrorism.” And, of course, it didn’t take long for someone to pop up with using it as an excuse to call for greater surveillance. That was the argument that former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer took on MSNBC yesterday when asked what should be done in response. MSNBC Kate Snow asked if this could lead to bipartisan support for gun control (ha ha!) and Fleischer turned it around to say the answer is more surveillance.

    • NSA ‘reform’: Fewer phone records, but data flow continues

      No sooner had the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records for millions of U.S. citizens come to an end, then members of Congress swung into action to dilute even that small step toward reform. Meanwhile, other programs that have much greater implications for privacy survive and thrive in the NSA’s sprawling surveillance system.

      The USA Freedom Act passed overwhelmingly in June, but its reform banning the NSA from scooping up more phone data only went into effect last weekend. Metadata already collected can be kept by the NSA until Feb. 29, and your phone data will continue to be collected by telecom companies, but the NSA must now go to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance) court for permission to gain access. Documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed it was the secret FISA court that gave the NSA permission to indiscriminately collect Americans’ phone records in the first place.

  • Civil Rights

    • American Nightmare: the Depravity of Neoliberalism

      Deciphering the meaning of Neo-liberalism as a historical force and societal form requires the energies and know-how of a sagacious sleuth like Hercule Poirot. Wendy Brown, a philosophy professor at UCLA (Berkeley) and author of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution, has a Poirot intellectual sensibility and acuity that sees what most of us cannot.

      Those of us who have written on neo-conservative politics and neo-liberalism as an economic form have illuminated many dimensions of “something new” that has emerged out of the collapse of welfare state liberal democracy in the West over the last five decades.

    • The Completely Nonsensical Differences In Punishment For Revenge Porn Kings

      Earlier this week, Hunter Moore — the guy who basically invented the concept of revenge porn with his “Is Anyone Up” site — was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail along with a $2,000 fine… and he has to pay $145.70 in “restitution” to a single victim. Moore was arrested for violating the CFAA, and as we noted at the time, it may be one of the few legitimate uses of the CFAA. He didn’t just run a revenge porn site, he hired a guy, Charlie Evens, who got a similar sentence a week ago, to hack into the computers of unsuspecting women, and swipe naked photos of them to put on his site. The sickening bit: that “$145.70″ in “restitution”? That’s how much Moore paid Evens (also, Evens is jointly liable for that money, meaning that Moore might not even pay it). It’s difficult to understand why the $145.70 makes any sense at all as the “harm” caused to the anonymous woman “L.B.” whose computer got hacked into.

    • Sharia courts in Britain lock women into ‘marital captivity’, study says

      Sharia courts in Britain are locking women into “marital captivity” and doing nothing to officially report domestic violence, according to an academic who gained unprecedented access to Islamic divorce hearings.

    • Court: Breaking Your Employer’s Computer Policy Isn’t a Crime

      The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion rejecting the government’s attempt to hold an employee criminally liable under the federal hacking statute—the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”)—for violating his employer-imposed computer use restrictions. The decision is important because it ensures that employers and website owners don’t have the power to criminalize a broad range of innocuous everyday behaviors, like checking personal email or the score of a baseball game, through simply adopting use restrictions in their corporate policies or terms of use.

      The court also ruled that the government cannot hold people criminally liable on the basis of purely fantastical statements they make online—i.e., thoughtcrime.

    • SJW attitude in science

      The arguments are quite easy to summarize: The meritocracy party proposes that “One’s contribution should only be evaluated based on the content and the quality”, while the SJW party asserts that in case the submitter as from a minority group, in particular everyone outside the white straight group, the contribution has to be accepted with higher probability (or without discussion) to ensure equality.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • If the FCC Loses in Court Today, It Could Be the End of Net Neutrality

      The US government’s landmark net neutrality policy faces a crucial test Friday when advocates and opponents of the new rules face off in federal court. The Federal Communications Commission, along with a coalition of public interest groups, is battling some of the biggest cable and telecom interests in the country over whether the agency has the authority to enforce a policy it says is necessary to protect internet openness.

    • Eight Questions About Friday’s Net Neutrality Hearing

      The Federal Communications Commission will head to court on Friday to defend its net neutrality rules against opponents who want to overturn the broadband regulations, a hearing that may help determine how consumers get access to content on the web.

      If this sounds familiar, it’s because the F.C.C. has twice appeared in front of the same federal court to argue over net neutrality policies, in particular a set of regulations aimed at preventing favoritism on the Internet. In both cases, the F.C.C. argued that it had the authority to regulate high-speed Internet providers, while opponents argued the agency was overstepping the mandates of Congress. Both times, the agency lost.

      Hoping that the third time will be the charm, the F.C.C.’s lawyers will tell a panel of judges at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that its most recent version of net neutrality rules is on firmer legal ground. With all the twists and turns of the F.C.C.’s yearslong net neutrality push, we offer this guide on the latest developments and what they may mean for you.

    • Appeals court weighs government’s rules requiring equal access to Internet content

      In this March 17, 2015 file photo, Federal Communications Commisison (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on net neutrality, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A long-running legal battle over government rules that require Internet providers to treat all Web traffic equally is back for another round before a federal appeals court. Cable and telecom industry groups will urge a three-judge panel on Dec. 4 to throw out regulations that forbid online content from being blocked or channeled into fast and slow lanes

    • Net neutrality supporters optimistic after court arguments

      Internet providers suing the Federal Communications Commission to overturn net neutrality rules got their day in court today as oral arguments were heard by a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

      A decision might not come for months, but net neutrality supporters said the judges’ questions indicate that a ruling may defer to the FCC’s determination on the crucial question of whether Internet providers can be reclassified as common carriers. Opponents of the net neutrality rules believe the judges are skeptical about some of the FCC’s arguments, however.

      The FCC’s decision to impose common carriage restrictions on Internet providers hinges on whether they can be considered “telecommunications services,” as opposed to more lightly regulated “information services.” ISPs argue that Internet access is properly defined as an information service, but ultimately the FCC may have the discretion to make that decision.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Links 6/12/2015: CoreOS News, MediaTek Development Platform

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • The dawn of the Digital Dark Age threatens us with ‘bit rot’

      Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet and the vice president of Google, is now warning of a new type of degradation threat: “bit rot.”

      Bit rot is basically created by a sort of planned obsolescence in software, and the formats associated with that software. As an example, Microsoft phased out Windows XP officially in 2014, which now won’t install on most newer computers.

  • Hardware

    • Plummeting SSD prices are quickly closing in on traditional hard drives

      The decision between solid state and hard disk drives should become a lot less agonizing over the next couple years as consumer SSD prices plummet.

      Research firm DRAMeXchange projects average SSD prices to hit $0.24 per gigabyte in 2016, down from $0.39 per gigabyte this year, Computerworld reports. Those prices will see another dramatic drop to $0.17 per gigabyte in 2017. Meanwhile, HDD prices are projected to stagnate at $0.06 per gigabyte over the next few years.

    • SSDs aren’t as cheap as hard drives yet, but they’re getting there

      CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, motherboards, RAM, Wi-Fi, and all the other components you think of when you think about a PC have all been getting continuously faster over the last five years, but so far this decade nothing has offered the performance boost of a solid-state drive. Putting an SSD in a five-year-old computer is enough to make it feel like a new machine even if every other component stays the same, and at this point you’re really doing yourself a disservice if you’re buying a new machine without one.

    • Seagate and Newisys Demonstrate 1 TB/s Flash Architecture

      Today Seagate and Newisys announced a new flash storage architecture capable or 1 Terabyte/sec performance. Designed for HPC applications, the “industry’s fastest flash storage design” comprises 21 Newisys NSS-2601 with dual NSS-HWxEA Storage Server Modules deployed with Seagate’s newest SAS 1200.2 SSD drives. These devices can be combined in a single 42U rack to achieve block I/O performance of 1TB/s with 5PB of storage. Each Newisys 2U server with 60 Seagate SSDs is capable of achieving bandwidth of 49GB/s.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL Affected By Four More Security Vulnerabilities
    • Let’s encrypt all the things

      Now that letsencrypt is more widely released, I took the opportunity to generate the certificates and install them manual on my hosting. In the future I will flip the switch to force HTTPS here. For now I made sure to avoid mixed-content as much as I could.

    • I jumped on the SSL-bandwagon
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Let’s Encrypt Enters Public Beta
    • SSH SHA-2 support in Twisted

      Launchpad operates a few SSH endpoints: bazaar.launchpad.net and git.launchpad.net for code hosting, and upload.ubuntu.com and ppa.launchpad.net for uploading packages. None of these are straightforward OpenSSH servers, because they don’t give ordinary shell access and they authenticate against users’ SSH keys recorded in Launchpad; both of these are much easier to do with SSH server code that we can use in library form as part of another service. We use Twisted for several other tasks where we need event-based networking code, and its conch package is a good fit for this.

    • Can you keep Linux-based ransomware from attacking your servers? [Ed: this isn’t a Linux issue but an unpatched CMS issue. Lazy sysadmins.]
    • Elasticsearch Servers Targeted by Linux-Based Botnet Operators

      A honeypot experiment ran by AlientVault has shown that the recent security vulnerabilities discovered in Elasticsearch servers over the summer are now actively being used by botnet operators.

    • Researchers Found Another Malware Targeting Linux Users

      Many analysts believe Rebooke is a harmless Trojan which is true, but its simple design allows the attacker to maneuver the type of attacks which can allow them to deliver powerful payloads on the systems.

    • Let’s Encrypt May Improve Security for Regular People More Than Any Other Initiative This Decade

      Secure websites have always been standard for ecommerce companies like Amazon or Shopify, and in recent years companies that handle private communications like Google and Facebook have invested millions of dollars in enabling encryption for all users. But what about everyone else?

    • Public Beta: December 3, 2015

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

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

      It’s time for the Web to take a big step forward in terms of security and privacy. We want to see HTTPS become the default. Let’s Encrypt was built to enable that by making it as easy as possible to get and manage certificates.

    • Let’s encrypt automation on Debian
    • DHS to Silicon Valley: Tell us how to secure this “Internet of Things”

      The US Department of Homeland Security has announced that its Silicon Valley Office (SVO)—the agency’s liaison point with the technology industry—will hold an event on December 10 to kick off a recruiting drive for startups and “non-traditional small businesses” interested in latching onto government funding. The Industry Day, being held at the Menlo Park, California, offices of SRI International, will be focused on the current leading source of worry for DHS officials: the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

    • Millions of smart TVs, phones and routers at risk from old vulnerability

      There’s growing concern over how manufacturers of devices such as routers and smart TVs deal with security vulnerabilities that emerge in their products. Their patching regimes are not nearly as rigorous as those from major software manufacturers, which could expose consumers to attacks as the products age.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Is Turkey Really Benefiting From Oil Trade With ISIS?

      Relations between Russia and Turkey hit a new low this week after Moscow doubled down on its claims that Turkey shot a Russian warplane in order to protect its supply of oil with the militant group ISIS.

    • War Porn

      Scotland is being dragged into a war it voted near unanimously against. 96.5% of Scotland’s MPs voted against the airstrikes in Syra. On platforms all up and down this country, I argued that I do not care a damn about how strong powers are given to Scotland’s parliament in domestic affairs, it we are not a sovereign nation and can still be taken to war against our will. I was proud of Alex Salmond last night for expressing contempt at the notion that civilians are not killed in British airstrikes, a big lie nobody else directly challenged.

    • Deselection is Essential to Democracy

      This goes to the heart of the Blairite cause. It is apparently not “undemocratic” for them to take legal advice on whether they can keep Jeremy Corbyn’s name off the ballot in a future membership ballot. It is not “undemocratic” to discuss deselecting the Leader, but it is a heinous offence against democracy to consider deselecting an MP. The odious Blairites are the most self-centred, selfish and indeed sociopathic group ever to have a serious presence in the UK parliament.

    • Zionist Benn’s Grab For Power

      It is worth reading the next article BICOM published. Brigadier General Michael Herzog, head of strategy for the Israeli defence Force, sets out a strategy for Israeli interests in Syria which dovetails precisely with what Benn and Cameron were pushing in the Commons. Note that Herzog says an overall diplomatic solution is not realistic and rather de facto partitioning of Syria suits Israel’s interests. Therefore there should be no waiting for diplomatic progress before western military action.

    • Emily Benn and Alex Salmond
    • O’Reilly And NYPD’s Ray Kelly Hype NYPD’s Failed Muslim Surveillance Program To Combat Terrorism

      Bill O’Reilly and former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly defended the NYPD’s now defunct surveillance program called, “The Demographics Unit” in response to the deadly attacks in San Bernadino, California. Kelly argued that the program foiled sixteen terror plots in New York City, but a report found that the program never produced one viable lead since being adopted.

    • CNN’s New Day Explains How “Ease Of Access” To Guns Is Linked To High Levels Of Gun Violence

      CNN Analyst: “It’s Easier To Buy A Gun In The United States … Than Most Comparable Countries”

    • Murdoch Trails Behind Murray

      Eight days ago I published a leak from an MOD source that the MOD’s Defence Intelligence Service fundamentally disagreed with Cameron’s “70,000 moderate rebels claim” and were incensed about. Today the Murdoch Press – the Times and the Sun – publish as massive front page exclusives exactly what I published eight days ago.

      Interesting isn’t it that they didn’t publish it before the parliamentary debate on Syria?

    • Guns killed more Americans in 12 years than AIDS, war, and illegal drug overdoses combined

      At least 14 people were shot and killed at Wednesday afternoon’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. It’s a shocking number, one that will contribute to a rolling national tragedy: roughly 33,000 Americans every year are killed with firearms (homicides, suicides, and accidents).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Seeing Through the Smoky Pall: Observations from a Grim Indonesian Fire Season

      In September and October 2015, tens of thousands of fires sent clouds of toxic gas and particulate matter into the air over Indonesia. Despite the moist climate of tropical Asia, fire is not unusual at this time of year. For the past few decades, people have used fire to clear land for farming and to burn away leftover crop debris. What was unusual in 2015 was how many fires burned and how many escaped their handlers and went uncontrolled for weeks and even months.

    • Manslaughter charges dropped in BP spill case—nobody from BP will go to prison

      In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and began spewing oil into the US Gulf Coast. In all, this released some 134 million gallons of crude over a span of almost three months. Eleven workers were killed in the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

      Today, federal prosecutors moved—and a judge agreed—to drop manslaughter charges against two supervisors aboard the Deepwater Horizon when it exploded. This development, in which prosecutors said they believed they no longer could meet the legal threshold for a conviction, means that nobody will go to prison for the disaster that soiled coastlines from Texas to Florida, killed nearly a dozen people, and was an environmental disaster that perhaps brings with it never-before-seen longterm consequences.

    • Facebook Has Activated Safety Check in India for the Chennai Floods [iophk: "making money off of disasters"]

      The website activated its Safety Check feature early Thursday, allowing people to mark themselves as “safe” from the floods. The feature, which debuted in October 2014, has now been deployed on several occasions, the most recent — somewhat controversially — being last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

    • The High Cost of Indonesia’s Fires

      Enormous fires have been burning for several months on the Indonesian side of Borneo, and on Sumatra. The resulting haze has been a catastrophe for the region, with severe impacts for human health and wildlife. The fires are also a climate disaster, resulting in 1.62 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions so far this year — triple Indonesia’s normal annual output.

      [...]

      Indonesia, is the global leader in terms of palm oil, pulpwood, and timber production, and fires are used to clear the land and make way for agricultural produftion. The driving force behind this destructive system is foreign demand. In the United States, palm oil is being used by companies including PepsiCo, Nissin, and Frito Lay as an alternative to hydrogenated oils. In Europe, it is used as a biofuel. Today, the biggest markets for palm are China and India.

      Of course, there are other ways to clear forest, but fire is often cheaper — set a fire and then nature takes over. Fires also provide an opportunity for land grabs in Indonesia, adding an additional incentive for those who want land. Due to restrictions on deforestation, pristine forests are more difficult to legally convert into palm oil or pulp plantations. But recently burned forest and peat? It becomes “degraded land” that is ripe for agricultural production. Greenpeace has already observed this pattern of land grabbing on recently-burned land in Borneo.

  • Finance

    • JPMorgan Wrote Complaints After Firing a Whistle-Blower

      Mr. Burris complained in 2013 that JPMorgan was pressuring brokers like him to sell the bank’s own mutual funds even when the offerings from competitors were more suitable. A few weeks after an article in The New York Times about Mr. Burris’s concerns appeared, complaints from some of his former clients in Arizona began showing up on his disciplinary records that are maintained by a regulatory agency and publicly available.

    • Six Key Flaws In The EU’s Proposed ‘New’ Corporate Sovereignty Court

      A few months back, Techdirt wrote about the European Commission’s proposal to replace the traditional corporate sovereignty system — generally known as “investor-state dispute settlement ” (ISDS) — with what it called the “Investment Court System” (ICS). That seemed to us little more than a re-branding exercise; now an international investment law scholar has weighed in on the issue with his own, rather more expert opinion. Gus Van Harten is Associate Professor at York University in Canada.

    • Facebook shares: what’s behind Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘hacker philanthropy’?

      Whatever motivates them, these new philanthropists aren’t happy with the model for altruism that they’ve inherited. In his WSJ article, Parker, dismissing traditional philanthropy as “largely antiquated” and motivated by “safe” gifts that result in the chance to “name buildings”, described a new approach that would be at ease with failure, agile, and sceptical of received wisdom – just as its proponents had been in tech. “They’re much more comfortable with risk,” says Breeze. “This is not an easy area: trying to do something about intense social problems outside of the state and outside of the market. If they take a risk and they learn from it, that’s held up as a success. The willingness to talk about failure is another part of their gift.”

    • Imagining a World Without Growth

      Could the world order survive without growing?

      [...]

      Economic growth took off consistently around the world only some 200 years ago. Two things powered it: innovation and lots and lots of carbon-based energy, most of it derived from fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. Staring at climactic upheaval approaching down the decades, environmental advocates, scientists and even some political leaders have put the proposal on the table: World consumption must stop growing.

    • Zuckerberg Responds To Critics, Explains How He’s Spending $45B

      The revelation generated a lot of attention, much of it due to the sheer volume of Zuckerberg’s net worth — $45 billion!

    • Mark Zuckerberg explains why he didn’t give his Facebook billions to charity

      Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg made the surprise announcement that he, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, would be donating 99 percent of their Facebook shares — worth around $45 billion — to the causes of “advancing human potential” and “promoting equality.” The gesture appeared altruistic, but some have criticized the way Zuckerberg is using the money, giving it to a limited liability company rather than a charitable foundation. Now Zuckerberg has responded to those complaints, posting another message that attempts to explain why he set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and what he and his wife want to do with the money.

    • Justice Department Collects More Than $23 Billion in Civil and Criminal Cases in Fiscal Year 2015

      Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today that the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year (FY) ending Sept. 30, 2015. Collections in FY 2015 represent more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

      “The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding taxpayer resources and protecting the American people from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Lynch. “The collections we are announcing today demonstrate not only the strength of that commitment, but also the significant return on public investment that our actions deliver. I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible, and to reiterate our dedication to this ongoing work.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Trump wins because he lies: Truthiness, Fox News, and why the right likes a fact-free zone

      Conservatives decided years ago, as a matter of strategy, to attack the mainstream media as hopelessly liberal. There’s a kernel of truth to this, in that there are likely more liberals than conservatives working in media. But the coverage, if it’s biased at all, isn’t biased in favor of liberals. If anything, the media favors the sensational and the attention-grabbing – this is what drives ratings and clicks.

      The media, after all, is a commercial enterprise, and so its biases are financial, not political.

    • Donald Trump Praises Leading Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones And His “Amazing” Reputation

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on Alex Jones’ program, where Trump praised Jones as having an “amazing” reputation and promised, “I will not let you down.” Jones is America’s leading conspiracy theorist — he believes the government was behind 9-11 and several other catastrophes.

    • Neo-Con YouGov At It Again With Leading Questions

      There is no need to mention the RAF in this question – it is not their decision and the impression is subtly conveyed that the RAF want to do it. The question is carefully designed to tap in to the public’s well-documented inclination to support the armed forces in any conflict situation.

      [...]

      Nevertheless, there are two very interesting facts. Even on this biased question opinion is swinging very fast against airstrikes. Secondly, yet again there is a very real divergence of opinion between England and Scotland.

    • In “Extraordinary” Move, WI Supreme Court Fires Scott Walker Prosecutor to Stave-Off SCOTUS Review

      “What a mess this court has wrought!” Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson declared in the latest chapter in the state’s John Doe legal saga.

      On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s majority contorted itself to find a new way to protect both Scott Walker and the Court’s biggest supporters–not to mention itself–following its decision in July rewriting the state’s limits on money in politics and ending the “John Doe” investigation into Walker’s campaign coordinating with dark money groups.

      Wednesday’s ruling was supposed to be a straightforward decision on a motion to reconsider, in light of additional evidence that Walker and his allies had violated the campaign finance laws that the Court upheld in July.

    • Conservative Media React To San Bernardino Mass Shooting With Evidence-Free Solution Of More Concealed Guns

      Conservative media are using the mass shooting that claimed 14 lives in San Bernardino, California, to once again push the carrying of concealed guns as a deterrent for mass shootings. There is no evidence that concealed guns are a real-life solution to mass shootings; according to an analysis of public mass shootings over a 30-year period, not a single one was stopped by an armed civilian with a concealed carry permit.

  • Censorship

    • After Illegally Censoring Websites For Five Years On Bogus Copyright Charges, US Gov’t Quietly ‘Returns’ Two Domains

      One of the craziest stories of outright censorship by the US government isn’t getting any attention at all. Five years ago, ICE — Immigrations and Customs Enforcement — a part of the Department of Homeland Security, illegally seized a group of domain names, claiming that they were violating copyright law. As we noted soon after this, the affidavit that ICE used to get a court to sign off on the seizures was particularly ridiculous, showing a near total lack of understanding of both the law and how the internet worked.

    • It’s time to smash the cosy Question Time chumocracy

      Not every white person thinks the same: Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon and Nick Griffin share not much more than a skin colour. There are class, gender, cultural, political, national and religious differences that are far more powerful than ethnic similarities.

      Everyone, of course, realises this – not least the media. Watch a programme such as Question Time and you will see a wide range of white panellists representing the wide range of views that white people in the UK hold.

      Why, then, is the same civility not extended to Britain’s ethnic minorities? Instead, the select few BAME (Black Asian minority ethnic) “representatives” are wheeled out again and again as if somehow they alone who speak for Britain’s 8.1 million ethnic minority citizens.

      Here’s an open secret: they don’t. Political views are just as broad and diverse among people of colour as they are among white citizens. It is worrying that this still needs pointing out.

    • If Any Kind of “Shaming” Can Be Called Legitimate and Useful, It Must Be Prayer Shaming

      I would go a step further to suggest that prayer is not just insufficient but harmful—not only in crisis situations (when it is just empirically ineffectual), but every single day. Every prayer is a tacit and/or explicit affirmation that the navigation of human life, human interaction, and human interdependence are somehow not the responsibility of humans. This can obviously take much more malign significance in the minds of the deeply faithful, but even in those little “god, give me strength”/”wow, the universe is really looking out for me today” moments, all of humankind is subtly diminished by the suggestion that there is a deity whose plan is being served by our suffering, and, more to the point, other people’s suffering.

  • Privacy

    • Facebook to stop tracking people without Facebook accounts in Belgium after privacy ruling

      Facebook will stop tracking browsers of Facebook pages in Belgium who are not signed into a Facebook account, seeking to comply with a court ruling last month ordering it to do so or face daily fines.

      The company’s action means Belgians will have to log into Facebook before they can see Facebook pages, forcing them to create and sign into an account if they want to view the pages or related content.

      Previously non-users could view public Facebook pages from sports teams, celebrities, tourist attractions and businesses without needing to log into Facebook. As a result of the changes registered Facebook users in Belgium who attempt to log in from an unrecognised web browser will be forced to comply with some added security steps, the company said.

    • Google Cloud Vision API Could Revolutionize Machine Vision

      You can currently call the API by embedding an image as part of the request. In future phases, Google will add support for integrating with Google Cloud Storage. The Vision API enables you to request one or more annotation types per image.

    • Amazon wants to fill your living room with sensors and cameras to bring you augmented reality

      We’ve had a couple virtual reality headsets in the Digital Trends office, and whether or not they’re comfortable to sport on your face, they make the wearer look kind of ridiculous. If your living room was one big augmented reality space, though, that would mean you’re not constantly hunting for your headset. That’s Amazon’s idea, away, according to a couple new patents the retailer recently filed.

    • Submission to Science and Technology Committee on Investigatory Powers Bill

      Parliamentary committees have started examining the draft Snooper’s Charter, so it is important to engage and explain what is wrong with the bill. In this submission we decided to focus on the provisions to create “internet connection records”. We ask for these to be scrapped as they are disproportionate and technically unworkable without the excessive and intrusive collection of everything we do online. There are alternatives that should be explored.

    • The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work

      Cryptography rearranges power: it configures who can do what, from what. This makes cryptography an inherently political tool, and it confers on the field an intrinsically moral dimension. The Snowden revelations motivate a reassessment of the political and moral positioning of cryptography. They lead one to ask if our inability to effectively address mass surveillance constitutes a failure of our field. I believe that it does. I call for a community-wide effort to develop more effective means to resist mass surveillance. I plea for a reinvention of our disciplinary culture to attend not only to puzzles and math, but, also, to the societal implications of our work.

    • Is Google spying on students who use Chromebooks?

      I’ll let you make up your own mind about Google’s response. To me it doesn’t carry much weight, but I’ve become somewhat cynical regarding Google’s motives and behavior over the years. So you’ll have to decide for yourself if the company’s explanation trumps the EFF’s report.

    • After Safe Harbour ruling, legal moves to force Facebook to stop sending data to US

      The Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems has sent complaints to the data protection agencies in three EU countries—Ireland, Germany, and Belgium—asking them to suspend the flow of personal data from Facebook’s operations in Ireland to the US. This follows his earlier success at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which ruled that the Safe Harbour framework under which personal data was being transferred was no longer valid because of mass surveillance of EU citizens by the NSA. Subsequently, the Irish High Court said that the Irish data protection commissioner (DPC) was obliged to investigate Schrems’ earlier complaints.

      His letter to the authorities in Ireland, where Facebook has its European headquarters, asks the Irish data protection agency “to suspend all data flows from ‘Facebook Ireland Ltd’ to ‘Facebook Inc’.” Schrems makes the same request to the data protection agencies in Germany and Belgium. In a release accompanying his complaints, Schrems explains why he has taken this unusual approach of involving several data protection agencies (DPAs): “My personal experience with the Irish DPC are rather mixed, which is why I felt involving more active DPAs make proper enforcement actions more likely. I hope the DPAs will cooperate in this case.”

    • LinkedIn’s revised Android app emulates Facebook
    • Why Electronic Health Records aren’t more usable

      Federal government incentives worth about $30 billion have persuaded the majority of physicians and hospitals to adopt electronic health record (EHR) systems over the past few years. However, most physicians do not find EHRs easy to use.

      Physicians often have difficulty entering structured data in EHRs, especially during patient encounters. The records are hard to read because they’re full of irrelevant boilerplates generated by the software and lack individualized information about the patient.

      Alerts frequently fire for inconsequential reasons, leading to alert fatigue. EHRs from different vendors are not interoperable with each other, making it impossible to exchange information without expensive interfaces or the use of secure messaging systems.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Police Were Right That Someone Could Abduct Her Son

      Video here. Check out how close the playground is to the houses. This is like my parents allowing us to play in our backyard, except apartment dwellers don’t have their own yard.

    • University Islamic Society students ‘make death threats’ as they disrupt controversial blasphemy lecture by human rights activist who they said ‘violated their safe space’

      One student switched off the projector after the speaker showed a cartoon of Muhammad, while a member of the audience claimed that an activist pointed his fingers at his head in the shape of a gun and said ‘boom’ in a bid to intimidate him.

      The Islamic Society spoke out in advance of the talk – titled ‘Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of ISIS’ – insisting Ms Namazie should not be allowed to speak because of her ‘bigoted views’.

    • Islamic students pull plug on talk by atheist who ‘violated safe space’

      A secular campaigner has told how she was heckled and shouted down by members of a student Islamic society who said that she was violating their “safe space”.

      Maryam Namazie claimed that the Islamic society at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was addressing the institution’s atheist group, tried to stop her talk going ahead by invoking a “no platform policy”.

    • Goldsmiths’ Islamic Society students disrupt human rights activist’s speech

      A renowned human rights campaigner has told how she was “intimidated” by Muslim students at a London university during a talk on radical Islam.

      Members of the Goldsmiths University Students Union’s Islamic Society switched off a projector and heckled as Maryam Namazie delivered a lecture on Monday evening.

      The students disrupted the speech, entitled ‘Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of Isis’, because they claimed it “violated their safe space”.

    • Pakistan Aims To Take Home ‘Worst Cybercrime Legislation In The World’ Trophy With Prevention Of Electronic Crimes Bill

      Pakistan is pushing forward its version of CISPA/CISA, the PECB (Prevention of Electronic Crime Bill). Much like here in the US, legislators have put this together without the input of legal or technical experts and, to make matters worse, this one is being pushed under a regime already notorious for censorious actions and intrusive surveillance.

    • Gitmo Prisoner Held For 13 Years Was Victim Of ‘Mistaken Identity’

      He’s been held without charge at Guantánamo Bay for 13 years. Believed to be an al-Qaeda courier or trainer, he was deemed dangerous enough to be held for an “indefinite” amount of time at the prison camp.

      But on Tuesday, in documents released at a Guantánamo hearing, U.S. officials admitted that the man — a Yemeni named Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri — was not who they thought he was. His arrest, they conceded, had been partly a case of “mistaken identity.”

      Al-Shamiri, the documents revealed, had been a low-level Islamic fighter — and not a significant member of al-Qaeda as had previously been suspected.

      “It was previously assessed that YM-434 (al-Shamiri) also was an al-Qaeda facilitator or courier, as well as a trainer, but we now judge these activities were carried out by other known extremists with names or aliases similar to YM-434’s,” officials said.

    • Saudi woman seeks asylum in UK after death threats from her family

      A Saudi woman who fled to the UK with her young son after leaving her husband has told a court how she received death threats from relatives – one of whom told her they would “cut off your head like we do to the sheep” for bringing shame upon their family.

      The woman, who is in her 30s but has not been named, is claiming asylum in Britain after her decision to separate from her husband angered her family. In one incident recounted to the court, her father attacked her with a piece of furniture and her brother tried to strangle her.

    • Will Ukip break up? These bookmakers think Ukip could disband and Nigel Farage could step down
    • Massive Collapse in Tory Vote Share in Oldham

      The Tory vote in Oldham West was not tiny and statistically insignificant. In 2010 it was 23%. The national media has been plugging a narrative about the political dominance of the Tories for months, which bears no relationship to people’s experience in real life. Tens of thousands of words of utter bilge have been written about the Conservatives “Northern powerhouse” strategy and how it will enable them to win in the North, and especially in precisely this Greater Manchester region. This is revealed as complete and utter nonsense. This by-election shows the Tories are deeply unpopular.

    • The mask slips: Oldham result brings out the real Nigel Farage

      Now before I get into the substance of Farage’s argument, it’s worth actually taking a look at the article he referred to in all his interviews this morning.

      The Guardian’s Northern editor is a journalist called Helen Pidd. You can read the article she wrote about the Oldham by-election last Saturday in full here.

      As you can see, there is absolutely no mention of a street where “nobody spoke English, nobody had ever heard go Jeremy Corbyn, but they were all voting Labour.”

      There is one woman quoted who had not heard of Corbyn and another man quoted who had heard of him, didn’t like him, but was still voting Labour because of the local candidate.

    • Ken Livingstone: ‘After Oldham, all those MPs who think we can’t win with Jeremy Corbyn might start to rethink’

      Ken Livingstone gazes out of his kitchen door, where the autumn leaves are floating gently down towards his cherished pond. “The garden wouldn’t be such a mess,” he says laconically, “if Jeremy hadn’t won.”

      At 70, he was meant to be retired by now, devoting himself to domesticity. When he lost his last mayoral election three years ago, he swapped roles with his wife, Emma, who had previously put her career on hold to support his; she has now retrained as a teacher while he became a househusband, running around after 12-year-old Thomas and Mia, 11. (He also has three grownup children by previous partners.)

    • Oldham may be the end for UKIP

      In 1997, Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling threatened the very existence of Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation. The WWF was being beaten in television ratings, pay-per-view buy rates, merchandise sales and all the other pecuniary methods of measuring success in professional wrestling. McMahon, however, is a canny operator and managed to turn around his company the following year, destroying the insurgent organisation and eventually buying it out for a paltry $2.5 million.

      Fast forward to December 2015 and another McMahon, Labour’s Candidate Jim in the Oldham West and Royton by-election, may also prove to be a canny operator who spells doom for an insurgency. UKIP, who had high hopes of causing another by-election headache for the increasingly desperate Labour party, have been held off in a distant second place. McMahon stormed home with a 10,722-vote majority, smaller than predecessor the late Michael Meacher’s due to turnout but with an increased share of the vote over the General Election result.

    • Death Mob Bays For Blood of MPs

      It is astonishing that Tom Watson says that anybody in that video should be expelled from the Labour Party, and that the entire mainstream media has described it as “intimidation”. There really is a genuine attempt to delegitimise even the concept of dissent from the neo-con war agenda.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Can We Save Wireless from Regulators?

      Linux was born and grew within an ecosystem of norms, not laws. Those norms were those of programming (C), operating systems (*NIX), command shells (bash, etc.), e-mail (SMTP, etc.) licenses (GPL, etc.) and Internet protocols (TCP/IP and the rest).

    • NetworkManager and privacy in the IPv6 internet

      The other problem (privacy) is a bit harder to solve. An IP address (be it IPv4 or IPv6) address consists of a network part and the host part. The host discovers the relevant network parts and is supposed generate the host part. Traditionally it just uses an Interface Identifier derived from the network hardware’s (MAC) address. The MAC address is set at manufacturing time and can uniquely identify the machine. This guarantees the address is stable and unique. That’s a good thing for address collision avoidance but a bad thing for privacy. The host part remaining constant in different network means that the machine can be uniquely identified as it enters different networks. This seemed like non-issue at the time the protocol was designed, but the privacy concerns arose as the IPv6 gained popularity. Fortunately, there’s a solution to this problem.

  • DRM

    • I Can’t Let You Do That, Dave

      DMCA 1201 prohibits breaking “digital locks” that restrict access to copyrighted works. Though it was originally conceived as a means of preventing piracy, it has proved most useful at preventing competition and the creation of legitimate, otherwise legal technologies. Copyright law has many flexibilities and exclusions that product designers, developers, and users can freely exercise, without any permission from the copyright holder. But under 1201, you can only make these uses if you do not have to break a lock.

    • Adobe Renaming Flash Software To “Animate CC”
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • University: ‘Pirating’ Students Being Deliberately Targeted

        Data published by Central Michigan University has revealed a worrying trend in copyright complaints. Out of 1,912 received so far in 2015, more than 80% were from Rightscorp, a company that demands cash to settle. The university’s chief information officer believes that campuses like his are being deliberately targeted.

      • Popcorn Time Developers Poke MPAA with A New Fork

        A new group of Popcorn Time developers has officially launched a “Community Edition” of the popular application. What started as a relatively simple fix to get the most used fork working again has turned into a fork of its own, challenging the MPAA’s efforts to bring Popcorn Time down.
        s

12.02.15

Links 2/12/2015: Microsoft and Debian, Thunderbird’s Fate

Posted in News Roundup at 8:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Prioritizing volunteer contributions in free software development

    Wikimedia is an organization which has both volunteers and paid folks working together in software development, with many software projects and different stakeholders involved.

  • Varnish Software: Zipnish for microservices

    Twitter developed the open source software Zipkin in 2012 to address this issue, however it only supports Java architectures.

    So then, Varnish now launches Zipnish in response to demand for an architecture-agnostic open source tool.

  • Dogecoin Startup Goes Open Source as Creator Says ‘Peace Out’ to Crypto

    The creator or micropayments startup dogetipbot has announced he will open-source the payments tool, just over one year after raising $445,000 from investors including Blackbird Ventures.

  • IBM Expands Spark Support with SystemML

    IBM’s machine learning technology has been accepted as an open source project, adding momentum to the steady enterprise shift to open-source development. The development effort also extends IBM’s reach into the Apache Spark ecosystem.

    IBM (NYSE: IBM) said last week its SystemML originally developed for its BigInsights data analytics platform has been accepted as an Apache Incubator open source project. SystemML is a machine learning algorithm translator designed to help developers building machine-learning models used for predictive analytics across a range of industries.

  • Altair to Open Source PBS Professional HPC Technology in 2016

    “Altair’s open source contribution is valuable and will help advance the work of the OpenHPC Collaborative Project,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “By working together to build and extend new technologies for the world’s most complex computing systems, Altair and other members of OpenHPC can accelerate exascale computing.” The open licensing system is scheduled to be released to the open source community in mid-2016.

  • Best Practices for Open-source Projects

    GitHub’s Phil Haack hosted a panel on Channel 9 that focused on best practices for open source projects.

    The panel saw the participation of four maintainers of open source projects: Carlos Rojas, audience evangelism manager at Microsoft for Latin America; Brian Lagunas, maintainer of the PRISM framework, used to build loosely coupled, maintainable, and testable XAML applications; David Paquette, contributor to several open source projects; and Carlos dos Santos, maintainer of CodeCracker, an analyzer library for C# and VB.

  • IBM Fashions Open Source Platform for Machine Learning

    It’s funny how Hadoop continues to crop up as the prime example of an open source platform that finds an early niche as an experiment in enterprise IT shops then suddenly explodes into its own vibrant ecosystem. In fact, the same thing might be happening with Spark, at least as an engine for the types of workloads that Hadoop was not so skilled at tackling.

  • IBM, Google Open Source Machine Learning Technology for Big Data Analytics

    IBM followed Google’s lead in donating machine learning technology to the open source community, providing developers with more resources for their Big Data predictive analytics projects.

  • Gallery of open source project stickers
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • End-of-Year Surveys Show Hadoop Growing, Still Complex, Though

      As the year draws to a close, several research reports and surveys are quantifying just how big an open source success story Hadoop has become. According to a new best practices survey from TDWI there is a big increase in how many enterprises plan to have Hadoop clusters in production. By Q1 of next year, 60% of survey respondents said they will be in production, up from 16% when the report was published earlier in 2015. We covered the complete results of the survey here.

  • CMS

  • BSD

    • New ELF Linker from the LLVM Project

      We have been working hard for a few months now to rewrite the ELF support in lld, the LLVM linker. We are happy to announce that it has reached a significant milestone: it is now able to bootstrap LLVM, Clang, and itself and pass all tests on x86-64 Linux and FreeBSD with the speed expected of an LLVM project.

    • LLVM Is Developing A New ELF Linker

      They wrote today, “We are happy to announce that it has reached a significant milestone: it is now able to bootstrap LLVM, Clang, and itself and pass all tests on x86-64 Linux and FreeBSD with the speed expected of an LLVM project.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman Is Not The Father Of Open Source

      Richard Stallman wants to make one thing completely clear: He is not the father. “I’m not the father of open source. If I’m the father of open source, it was conceived by artificial insemination without my knowledge or consent,” he proclaimed from the keynote stage last month at Fossetcon 2015. It wasn’t close to the strongest statement he made from that stage.

    • GNU UPC Hopes To Merge For GCC 6

      Developers on GUPC, the GNU UPC project for extending GCC to support the Unified Parallel C language dialect, are hoping they can get their code merged for GCC 6.

      It’s been a while since last talking about Unified Parallel C as the C programming language extension designed for HPC on parallel machines, but the developers have been hard at work on improving the code and keeping it in sync with GCC.

    • GIMP 2.9.2 Released, How About Features Trivia?

      In a surge of long overdue updates the GIMP team made the first public release in the 2.9.x series. It’s completely GEGL-based, has 16/32-bit per channel editing and new tools. It’s also surprisingly stable enough even for the faint of heart.

    • Supporting Software Freedom Conservancy
    • Software Freedom Conservancy supporter

      They provide a non-profit home, infrastructure, and advice for FLOSS projects. They take care that the will of the project members, choosing free software licenses, is respected by third parties. They care about “all the rest” so free software contributors can focus in improving the software itself. They have an agreement with the Debian community to protect the freedoms that Debian Developers provide to the Debian end users (and derivative distributions).

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source Gov.UK is ‘example of UK soft power’

      In introducing Manzoni, Nefkens described the UK as a world leader in the “digital transformation of government”, a model even for similar schemes in the USA and Australia. Furthermore, New Zealand has used Gov.uk source code – it’s based on open standards and is open source – to help build out own digital services.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • First Open Source Scientific Notebook Released On Kickstarter

      Modularity is what makes sciNote flexible and useful for every laboratory. Modules are either developed by the sciNote team or by the community. There is a number of open source scientific platforms out there which can be connected to sciNote so there will be an ever-growing selection of modules to choose from. Modules can be simple, such as reagent calculator or complex, such as bioinformatics modules. They can be connected with your existing, databases, laboratory instruments and software.

    • Open Data

      • Flanders to redouble focus on open data standards

        One of the first tasks for Flanders’ newly created Agency for Information (Agentschap Informatie Vlaanderen) will be to promote the use of open data standards by public administrations in the Belgian region. The agency is to align existing and future business processes involving open data and will advance the use of European linked open data standards. The agency’s long-term vision is to support the European Commission’s actions on spatial data infrastructure standards (INSPIRE) and on semantic interoperability for eGovernment systems – one of the actions of the EC’s ISA programme. (ISA is also responsible for the Joinup platform.)

    • Open Hardware

      • It May Soon Be Possible To Build A Do-It-Yourself 64-Bit ARM Laptop

        Olimex Ltd is hoping to make it possible to sell a Do-It-Yourself laptop powered by a 64-bit ARM SoC.

        Olimex has been working on the OLinuXino OSHW Linux laptop that’s an open-source ARM hardware design and would be powered by an Allwinner A64 64-bit SoC.

        They just received samples of their plastic body design for the laptop itself. While a pure plastic laptop is worrisome, they claim that “the plastic parts [are] very good!” They have also sourced the battery, LCD display, keyboard, and other components.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US will deploy special force to boost fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

      The United States is deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to help Iraq put additional pressure on Islamic State and be positioned to conduct unilateral operations into Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday.

    • Corbyn says only ‘small number’ of ‘diehard’ Labour MPs support airstrikes – Politics live
    • We need Chilcot’s lessons from Iraq now – before we bomb Syria

      MPs have instead been summoned to meetings to talk to “experts” – David Cameron’s reference to intelligence agencies that he is reluctant to identify after the disaster in Iraq. We are having to wait until next summer, more than 13 years after the invasion, to hear what Chilcot says about “lessons learned”, the main purpose of his inquiry.

    • The Desolation of Labour

      Labour is in a mad panic over Ken Livingstone’s fundamental departure from the neo-con narrative.

    • The Planned Parenthood Attack, And How Homegrown Terrorism Gets Downplayed By The Press

      So, in just the last three months we’ve seen a car set on fire, Molotov cocktails allegedly thrown at a house of worship, terroristic threats leveled against a family, liberal protesters gunned down by radicals, and a medical facility stormed by an anti-abortion/anti-government gunman who killed civilians and a policeman.

      What portrait do those events paint in your mind? And is that portrait of radical homegrown violence and terrorism the one you’ve seen conveyed in the press following the Colorado Springs terror attack?

      It’s not the one I’ve been seeing.

      Media Matters for years has documented how Fox News in particular has used a blinding double standard in terms of casting wide, cultural and religious aspersions when covering terror attacks involving Muslim attackers, versus how it deals with homegrown political violence from the right. (It was Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade who once confidently declared, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”)

    • BBC Broadcasting House ‘Bomb Scare’ Leaves Journalists Bemused Over False Evacuation Report

      Hundreds of BBC journalists were left bemused after a rival news outlets reported they were being evacuated from Broadcasting House.

      Staff at the broadcaster were less than impressed at claims – later debunked – that they had been escorted from the building over a suspicious vehicle parked nearby posing a possible bomb threat.

      ITV, the Independent, the Daily Express, City AM and others fell foul of the false claims, sparked by a tweet from one BBC journalist who claimed Broadcasting House had been evacuated.

    • The large proportion of Iraqis who believe the US is supporting Isis

      On the front lines of the battle against Isis, suspicion of the United States runs deep. Iraqi fighters say they have all seen the videos purportedly showing U.S. helicopters airdropping weapons to the militants, and many claim they have friends and relatives who have witnessed similar instances of collusion.

      Ordinary people also have seen the videos, heard the stories and reached the same conclusion — one that might seem absurd to Americans but is widely believed among Iraqis — that the United States is supporting Isis for a variety of pernicious reasons that have to do with asserting U.S. control over Iraq, the wider Middle East and, perhaps, its oil.

    • 70,000 is the new 45 minutes

      Precisely as I reported two days ago, Cameron really is in trouble over the Syria vote due to his patently ludicrous claim of the existence of 70,000 “moderate rebels”. Most MPs are pretty unpleasant people, but they do have a high opinion of their own importance. They will vote for anything they see as in their own self-interest, but not if it means kneeling and licking the floor when they are being treated with very obvious contempt, in public. Well, a great many of them will even do that if it advances their career, and the George Osborne tendency do it in private and pay for it. But not even pretending to take MPs seriously is a risky tactic, and that is what Cameron has done with his foolish ruse of just inventing 70,000 moderate fighters.

      Today the government rubbed MPs faces further in the dirt by saying they could not give a breakdown of who the 70,000 are, because it is a secret.

      Yes, honestly. The identity of our allies – even just in terms of what groups they belong to – is a secret.

    • The Old Etonian Sir Mark Lyall Grant

      Lyall Grant is now National Security Adviser and made responsible by Cameron for persuading Labour MPs to bomb Syria. A disagreement has arisen tonight over whether he admitted or not that a great many of the “70,000” are “extreme Islamists”.

    • Syria airstrikes: Has the West learned nothing after its 9/11 response?

      …a new intervention will play directly into the narrative used by ISIS to lure the Western recruits most likely to carry out attacks in Britain.

    • MSNBC’s Kornacki Found Muslims In NYC Were Assaulted After 9/11, But No News Reports Of Muslim Celebrations
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Worst Right-Wing Media Reactions To The UN Climate Summit

      President Obama is in Paris at a United Nations summit, where nations hope to reach an international agreement on climate change. In response, conservative media figures have resorted to denial, dismissal, and mockery, while criticizing Obama as “simply stupid” and NASA scientists as “talentless low-lives.”

    • Indonesia forest fires: how the year’s worst environmental disaster unfolded – interactive

      As world leaders gather in Paris to discuss the global response to climate change, we assess the impact of the widespread forest fires in Indonesia. Set to clear land for paper and palm oil production, the fires have not only destroyed forest and peatland, but also severely affected public health and released massive amounts of carbon

  • Finance

    • How EU nations are being sued for billions by foreign companies in secret tribunals

      The most controversial aspect of the the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, which is currently being negotiated behind closed doors between the US and EU, is the plan to allow foreign companies to sue entire nations in special tribunals for the alleged expropriation of future profits through changes in laws or regulations. This is not an entirely new approach—these secret tribunals have been included in hundreds of other smaller-scale trade agreements over the years—but its inclusion here would have profound impacts on both the EU and US.

      Opponents of the idea see these secret tribunals as undermining a government’s sovereign ability to implement democratic decisions through new legislation. Those in favour of this investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism insist that it’s just a normal part of trade agreements, and nothing to worry about.

      The UK government’s public stance on ISDS is typical: “Since 1975 the UK has negotiated 94 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) almost all of which include ISDS provisions,” one of its information leaflets says. And yet the government also claims: “No ISDS challenge has ever succeeded against the UK. Despite the large number of treaties in force with ISDS clauses, there have been only two ISDS challenges brought against us.”

  • Censorship

    • Our Response To The Latest Ridiculous Legal Threat Against Us: Milorad Trkulja Can Go Pound Sand

      As we’ve noted, we regularly get legal threats, some of which are more serious than others. Sometimes we ignore them entirely, and sometimes we feel the need to respond. Depending on the situation, sometimes we respond privately. Sometimes we respond publicly. The more ridiculous the threat, the more likely we are to respond publicly — and I think the latest holds up as one of the most ridiculous legal threats we’ve seen. It comes from Milorad Trkulja, who is also known as Michael Trkulja, and who lives in Australia. Trkulja made some news a few years back when he (somewhat surprisingly) successfully sued both Yahoo and Google for hundreds of thousands of dollars, because when people did image searches on a variety of phrases related to things like “Australian criminal underworld mafia” sometimes a picture of Trkulja would show up. Apparently, Trkulja was actually shot in the back a decade ago by an unknown gunman. And somehow, for whatever reasons, certain websites included pictures of him along with enough keywords that the search algorithms at both Google and Yahoo would return his photo in such searches. We wrote about his victory over Google back in November of 2012, pointing out how ridiculous it was that an Australian court said you could sue search engines because image search happens to pop up your image along with actual gangsters.

      [...]

      That’s enough of a response. There are tons of other possible responses, but in short: we’re not doing a damn thing in response to this ridiculous threat. You have no case whatsoever and complaining about this is ridiculous. It may be time to find a hobby or something, Mr. Trkulja, because poorly written and ridiculous legal threats to foreign entities aren’t doing you any good.

    • Prince Charles: 15-page contract reveals how the Prince of Wales tries to control the media

      Prince Charles is demanding “North Korean-style” pre-conditions in television interviews, including advance knowledge of precise questions, the right to oversee editing and even to block a broadcast if he does not approve of the final product.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ accused of ‘persistent’ illegal hacking at security tribunal

      GCHQ carries out “persistent” illegal hacking of phones, computers and networks worldwide under broad “thematic” warrants that ignore privacy safeguards, a security tribunal has heard.

      Microphones and cameras on electronic devices can be remotely activated without owners’ knowledge, photographs and personal documents copied and locations discovered, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has been told.

      GCHQ, the government monitoring station in Cheltenham, has for the first time in a court case admitted that it carries out computer network exploitation (CNE) – commonly known as hacking – both in the UK and overseas.

    • The attack that broke the Dark Web—and how Tor plans to fix it

      Law enforcement has been complaining for years about the Web “going dark,” saying that encryption and privacy tools are frustrating their ability to track criminals online. But massive FBI operations over the last year that have busted ‘hidden sites’ used for the sale of drugs, hacking tools, and child pornography suggest the digital criminal world has gotten lighter, with law enforcement bragging that criminals can’t “hide in the shadows of the Dark Web anymore.” While mysterious about its tactics, law enforcement indicated that it had found a way to circumvent the tool on which these sites relied, a software called Tor. But criminals are not the only ones who rely on it.

    • IRS says it will get a warrant before using cell-site simulators

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is drafting a policy to restrict the use without a warrant of cell-site simulator technology to snoop on the location and other information from mobile phones.

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is drafting a policy to restrict the use without a warrant of cell-site simulator technology to snoop on the location and other information from mobile phones.

      The head of the IRS, John Koskinen, wrote in a letter that the agency was drafting a policy that would mirror an earlier Department of Justice rule, which requires a search warrant supported by probable cause before using the technology, except in exigent or exceptional circumstances.

    • Google accused of tracking school kids after it promised not to

      Google has been collecting information about schoolchildren’s browsing habits despite signing a pledge saying it was committed to their privacy, the EFF said Tuesday.

      Google has been collecting information about schoolchildren’s browsing habits despite signing a pledge saying it was committed to their privacy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a complaint filed Tuesday.

    • Boston PD Finally Confirms It Has A Stingray Device In Its Possession

      The Boston Police Department has been fighting two FOIA requests — one from Mike Katz-Lacabe and one from Shawn Musgrave — for months. We covered Katz-Lacabe’s battle back in June. In that one, the BPD denied the release of documents related to Stingray devices on the questionable grounds that they were covered under the “investigative materials” exemption.

    • Bulk Collection Under Section 215 Has Ended… What’s Next?

      But the facts that have emerged thus far tell a different story. It appears that much of the planning took place IRL (that’s “in real life” for those of you who don’t have teenagers). The attackers, several of whom were on law enforcement’s radar, communicated openly over the Internet. If France ever has a 9/11 Commission-type inquiry, it could well conclude that the Paris attacks were a failure of the intelligence agencies rather than a failure of intelligence authorities.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sixty years on, U.S. heroes of Montgomery bus boycott celebrated

      While Rosa Parks became a symbol of the U.S. civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated Alabama bus, the 60th anniversary of her arrest is also highlighting lesser-known pioneers of the bus boycott she sparked.

      Parks made history by taking a stand alongside other desegregation pioneers like Claudette Colvin, a black teenager arrested nine months earlier in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger, said Fred Gray, a lawyer who represented both women.

      “If there had not been a Claudette Colvin, who did what she did, a lot of other events would not have occurred,” Gray said. “It was a matter of each one building upon each other, and the rest is history.”

      The Montgomery bus boycott, launched in protest of Parks’ arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, modelled the nonviolent protests that defined the era and brought to prominence a lead organizer, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Rosa Parks: 60th anniversary of a historic day in Alabama – in pictures
    • Chicago police chief ousted amid tensions over black teen’s killing

      Chicago’s police chief was ousted on Tuesday following days of unrest over video footage showing the shooting of a black teenager and the filing of murder charges against a white police officer in the young man’s death.

      Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced during a news conference he had asked Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign. The mayor also said he was creating a new police accountability task force.

      The white officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged a week ago with first-degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times. The video of the killing was released on the same day.

    • Human Rights Watch demands U.S. criminal probe of CIA torture

      Human Rights Watch called on the Obama administration on Tuesday to investigate 21 former U.S. officials, including former President George W. Bush, for potential criminal misconduct for their roles in the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects in detention.

    • US Officials Must Be Brought to Justice for CIA Torture Program – HRW

      Human Rights Watch concluded in a report that foreign governments must prosecute senior US officials involved in the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program.

    • Where is the Outrage on David Cameron’s Scandal in the Gulf?

      The UAE, we now know, was busy planning its own operation against Muslim Brotherhood affiliates at home while urging David Cameron to do the same in Britain.

  • DRM

    • Adobe isn’t killing Flash, just changing the name of the tool that makes it

      Score one for the late Steve Jobs. Adobe is changing the name of Flash Professional CC, its web animation tool, to Animate CC. The goal is to accurately reflect the reality that web developers are using the tool to also create HTML5 content—“over a third of all the content” created with the app—according to Adobe.

      In a blog post announcing the change, Adobe credited Flash with “[pushing] the web forward.” But the company also conceded that HTML5, which is friendlier to laptop batteries and not the security nightmare Flash has become, has matured enough to “be the web platform of the future across all devices.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK Anti-Piracy ‘Education’ Campaign Launched, Quietly

        After a long wait the UK’s broad anti-piracy effort operated by ISPs and copyright holders has finally launched. The UK Government-funded program aims to warn and educate illegal file-sharers in the hope of decreasing piracy rates over time, but thus far the response has been rather underwhelming.

      • Broke Again, Dotcom Asks Hong Kong Court For Millions

        Lawyers for Kim Dotcom have asked a Hong Kong court for the release of millions in previously seized funds claiming that their client is broke once again. However, the prosecution claim that after opening new businesses, Dotcom banked “hundreds of millions” of dollars through Hong Kong.

12.01.15

Links 1/12/2015: Porteus Kiosk 3.6.0, Linux Mint 17.3 “Rosa”

Posted in News Roundup at 9:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 8 projects with LEGO: plastic bricks meet open source

    LEGO bricks: To a parent, they’re a virtual minefield, hidden away in the carpet to inflict unimaginable pain from a seemly innocent barefoot step. But to a child, they are a tool for creatively engineering anything the mind can imagine. And for many, they are our first foray into open source. The instructions with a LEGO set start out as rigid rules, and become merely guidelines as children learn to remix, adapt, and extend the “code” which defines the object being built, and then be shared with anyone nearby.

  • IBM latest to open source AI program

    Thomas said IBM has another reason to open-source its machine learning code – it helps the company recruit new AI experts, which are currently in great demand.

  • Finding the right tool for the job

    I’ve worked on many projects in my life so far, and almost all of them involve open source somewhere along the line. Below is a brief summary of some of the projects I worked on and the tools I used to work on projects in my own time, outside of work.

  • Being Thankful for Open Source Software

    At the end of every year I always like to donate some small amount of money to the open source projects I spend the most time using. If everyone donated even 1/10th of the money free software saved them each year to the projects that they use, I have no doubt that a lot more open source software would exist today.

  • 6 creative ways to use ownCloud

    ownCloud is a self-hosted open source file sync and share server. Like “big boys” Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and others, ownCloud lets you access your files, calendar, contacts, and other data. You can synchronize everything (or part of it) between your devices and share files with others. But ownCloud can do much more than its proprietary, hosted-on-somebody-else’s-computer competitors.

  • Freeswitch vs. Asterisk?

    We’ve been experimenting with VOIP in our school, primarily for internal communication. I’ve set up both asterisk and freeswitch servers, and have been quite frustrated with the limitations of both.

    Asterisk only allows one registration to be connected to each extension. Yes, there are ways to work around this restriction (for extension 101, set up multiple extensions – 980101, 981101, 982101, and then set up a ring group 101 that rings those extensions simultaneously), but it’s an incredibly irritating workaround.

  • Events

    • How Is Fossaegean Doing?

      Since I moved into the island, one of the first things I did was to find out if there were any people around interested in free & open source technologies. Luckily, there was this community called fossaegean, which pretty much stands for Free & Open Source Software Community of the University of the Aegean. However, it was not that active back then.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Millions Grow Under Last Year of Google Deal

        While Mozilla continues to give away its open source products for free, including the Firefox web browser, it is still generating growing revenues. Mozilla’s newly published 2014 financial statements show that the open source software group made more money than ever before in 2014, though 2015 will be a year of challenges.

      • Mozilla: Open Source Firefox Browser Thrives without Cash from Google

        How important is Google to open source? Not quite as important as it was up until a year ago, when Mozilla announced that it was no longer receiving large sums of cash from the search giant. Yet it turns out Firefox and other Mozilla products are still thriving without as much Google support.

      • All hail Firefox Dev Edition 44 – animations, memory and all

        When Mozilla released the first Firefox Developer Edition there wasn’t much difference from the regular Firefox release, but all that changed recently.

        Firefox DE 44, delivered in early November, packs in a wealth of new features and improvements, particularly for anyone working with HTML5 and CSS3 animation.

        The Developer Edition’s Page Inspector tool adds an animation panel that allows developers to step through animations node by node and easily scrub, pause, and inspect each animation on the webpage.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Now Has More than 100 Million Active Users

      LibreOffice is hailed as the best open source office suite available right now, and we keep hearing about the amazing adoption rate, but we hardly get any real numbers. That changed today after Collabora released some statistics about LibreOffice usage and it’s more than impressive.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • I support Software Freedom Conservancy

      Conservancy provides a lot of services to member projects, including financial and administrivia. Conservancy also provides license enforcement services, including support of a high-profile suit against VMWare. Although Conservancy uses litigation as a last resort, it’s sometimes necessary. However, this has lead to some corporate sponsors pulling their funding.

    • Support Software Freedom Conservancy
    • GnuTLS 3.4.x
    • FSF to begin accepting GPG signatures for copyright assignments from Italy

      The Free Software Foundation is striving to provide more and simpler ways for hackers to contribute to the GNU Project. For projects that are assigned to the FSF (such as GNU Emacs or GCC), dealing with the paperwork for assigning contributions can sometimes be a bottleneck in the process. We are always working on ways to make assignment itself simpler. We have accepted GPG-signed documents from U.S. contributors for some time now. Our legal counsel at the Software Freedom Law Center recently gave us the all clear to begin accepting GPG and electronic signatures from contributors in Italy. We would also like to thank Carlo Piana for providing local counsel on this issue as well.

    • It’s Fall, still, and the Bulletin is out!

      As many of you are aware, twice a year we mail a new edition of the FSF Bulletin to our members and supporters via the good old United States Postal Service. The Bulletin comes together in just a few weeks, and this time we had to make an extra quick turnaround after celebrating FSF30.

  • Public Services/Government

    • German aerospace centre in transit to open source

      Germany’s Aerospace Centre DLR is steadily increasing its use of free and open source software. The DLR is already using open source tools for many of its software development projects, and also makes several of its solutions available as open source. In addition, the research institute plans in the long-term to use open source for it PC operating systems, office productivity and collaboration tools.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Does the Open Document Format still matter?

      One of the core topics of this blog -at least one of the main reasons it came to existence- was open standards: their benefits, their advantages, and their value as a fundamental component for digital innovation and ultimately software freedom. This is still the case of course, but today I will try to show how one open standard in particular, ODF, has failed in its approach until now and could very well make a remarkable comeback.

      This is not to say that ODF is a bad idea or that it is not a good standard; it is all this and much more. However I have realized with the hindsight of several years since it became an official ISO standard that the expectations about its adoption and its development have been defined the wrong way. Hence the title of this post.

    • Your guide to 7 open eBook formats

      Electronic books, or eBooks, have been around for a long time, but convenient devices upon which to read them are a relatively recent development. Between mobile phones, tablets, and dedicated eBook readers, chances are you have some device in your life that you can use to read an electronic book upon. That’s great for leveling up on how much you read, but it begs the question of what open file formats are out there for eBooks, and which ones are best.

    • “Open standards should be a priority” – MITA

      Open standards should be a priority in public administration’s IT projects, says Noel Cuschieri, enterprise architect at Malta’s Information Technology Agency (MITA). Open standards are a strategic part of Malta’s IT policy, Cuschieri says.

Leftovers

  • Where does a person have online discussions anymore?

    Back in the day, way back in the day perhaps, there were interesting places to hang out online. FidoNet provided some discussion groups — some local, some more national or international. Then there was Usenet, with the same but on a more grand scale.

    There were things I liked about both of them.

    They fostered long-form, and long-term, discussion. Replies could be thoughtful, and a person could think about it for a day before replying.

    Socially, you would actually get to know the people in the communities you participated in. There would be regulars, and on FidoNet at least, you might bump into them in different groups or even in real life. There was a sense of community. Moreover, there was a slight barrier to entry and that was, perhaps, a good thing; there were quite a lot of really interesting people and not so many people that just wanted answers to homework questions.

  • Science

    • HPC Helps Drive Weather Forecasting

      The computational requirements for weather forecasting are driven by the need for higher resolution models for more accurate and extended forecasts. In addition, more physics and chemistry processes are included in the models so we can observe the very fine features of weather behavior. These models operate on 3D grids that encompass the globe. The closer the points on the grid are to each other, the more accurate the results. Today most global grid models use a range of 10 to 25 kilometer separation between points; the Holy Grail of weather forecasting is to reduce that separation to one kilometer or less.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Will EU renew $1.25bn deal with tobacco firm PMI?

      There are 222 days left until an unprecedented treaty between tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) and the European Union expires. The 2004 deal saw Europe halt all its legal claims against PMI in exchange for the multinational’s cooperation in the fight against cigarette smuggling. The EU had previously sued PMI and other tobacco companies in the US over suspected involvement in smuggling operations.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Warning: Internet security turbulence ahead

      A little more than a year ago, I urged manufacturing companies testing the IoT waters to leave the work of bringing Internet connectivity to their traditionally unconnected products to those who understand what’s at stake. I’m not alone in my concerns that the IoT brigade will bring with it an avalanche of staggeringly insecure products that will find their way into our daily lives.

      What we’re seeing right now is a hopefully imperfect storm of security challenges that, with any luck, will not result in global security and privacy breaches. In one corner, we have companies like Dell and Lenovo distributing computers with wide-open root CAs, allowing anyone with a small amount of skill to crib a certificate and spoof SSL websites, run man-in-the-middle attacks, and install malicious software on those Windows systems with nary a whimper from the “protections” in place to prevent such issues.

    • Flaws in Huawei WiMax routers won’t be fixed, researcher says

      Huawei isn’t planning on patching several flaws in seven models of WiMax routers that are not being supported anymore by the company, according to a security researcher.

      Huawei isn’t planning on patching several flaws in seven models of WiMax routers that are not being supported anymore by the company, according to a security researcher.

      Pierre Kimpublished a list of the affected models, which are still used in countries including Ivory Coast, Iran, Iraq, Libya, the Philippines, Bahrain and Ukraine.

    • The threats of November 2015, Linux ransomware leads the way according to new report [Ed: Blaming already-resolved CMS bugs on “Linux”]
    • Can’t get a break: Pwned Linux ransomware pwned again, infects 3000

      WordPress and Magento sites are the main targets. The software had infected 2000 sites by 12 November and surpassed 3000 two weeks later.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Here We Are Again on the Way to War – and All Anyone Can Talk About is the Labour Whip

      Often in the past few days, BBC listeners and viewers, and readers of the unpopular newspapers, might have had the impression that Britain is discussing the pros and cons of an intervention in the Labour Party, rather than of an intervention in Syria.

      As I read the papers and listened to BBC Radio 4 on Friday morning last week, I was baffled to find that the main item was not the plan for war, but the divisions on this subject within the Labour Party.

    • Wow

      I think you can measure the death of democracy by the sheer audacity of the propaganda that government can get away with. Michael Fallon today on the Marr programme churned out the “70,000 moderate rebels” lie with a smooth bland face, and mentioned only the Free Syrian Army when pressed on who they were exactly. This is dishonesty on an epic scale.

      [...]

      As does the fact that a substantial number of MPs of the official “opposition” have spent the weekend actively colluding with government ministers to forward the government’s militarist agenda.

    • [Old] Turkey sends in jets as Syria’s agony spills over every border

      When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.

      The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

      As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world. [...] direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was
      now “undeniable”.

    • The Guardian view on Syria: MPs should say no to airstrikes without a strategy

      There is a right way to approach a question as serious as whether the UK should extend airstrikes against Islamic State to Syria – and a wrong way. The wrong way is to view it through the lens of the bitter debate about the future of the Labour party and in particular its leader. For all the drama of Monday’s decision to allow a free vote, the threat of Isis is too grave to be used merely to undermine or shore up the position of Jeremy Corbyn.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • In New York Times, Blue Eyes ‘Wince and Cloud’ at the Terror of a ‘Gentle Loner’

      It’s hard to say what was more incongruous: the description of someone who had reportedly admitted carrying out a deadly act of terror as a “gentle loner” or the presumption that phrase could be attached to someone who “occasionally unleashed violent acts” toward women and others.

      Faced with a barrage of criticism on Twitter and elsewhere, the Times rewrote the lead of that story to make Dear less “gentle.” Now the same reporters reported that “neighbors said they barely knew him”—the same neighbors, presumably, to whom the earlier description was attributed.

    • What You Never Hear On Fox News
  • Censorship

    • A Decade-Old Gag Order, Lifted

      A few days earlier, an FBI agent had come by Calyx’s offices and handed Nick a “national security letter” demanding that Calyx turn over sensitive information about one of its subscribers. The letter included a gag order prohibiting Calyx from disclosing to anyone that it had received the demand. It also included an attachment listing the kinds of information that the FBI wanted Calyx to turn over.

    • Right-wing group Britain First calls Facebook ‘fascist’ after fan page banned by mistake

      Britain First, a far-right group that opposes immigration and brands itself a “patriotic resistance and ‘frontline’ for our long suffering people”, accused Facebook of fascism after its page on the social network was briefly taken down.

      The group saw its page briefly taken down for violating rules on Monday, with a message saying its page had been “unpublished” and that Facebook does not tolerate hate speech.

      However, the page was subsequently re-published. “The page was removed in error but has now been restored,” a Facebook spokesman said.

      The Facebook page is known for publishing anti-immigrant, and pro-army and Christian messages on Facebook, with its fan page receiving more than 1.1 million “likes”. However, it has also generated a backlash, with an opposition page, “Exposing Britain First”, becoming popular.

    • Sweden refuses to order ISP to block Pirate Bay

      Sweden’s internet service providers cannot be forced to block file sharing site the Pirate Bay nor be held responsible for copyright infringements by users, a court has ruled.

      Stockholm District Court rejected a lawsuit filed by the Swedish Film Industry, Nordisk Film, Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music last year which argued that Sweden’s second-largest internet service provider (ISP) Bredbandsbolaget should be held liable for the copyright infringements of its users should it refuse to block access to the Pirate Bay.

      The court said in a statement: “The District Court considers that Bredbandsbolaget’s operation and conduct in the present case does not constitute participation under Swedish law.”

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Remember Why We Have the Fourth Amendment

      The Paris attacks have fueled a debate over surveillance on both sides of the Atlantic that, while not new, has reached a level of hysteria that I have not witnessed since the weeks and months following 9/11. There is great cause for grief and great cause for concern over whether those horrific events could have been prevented. But in our desire to prevent such a tragedy at home, it is vital for Americans to remember the values that drove the birth of our nation, and to guard them jealously. It is not “handwringing” to fret over the future of privacy rights, religious freedom, and free speech. At a time when the British government has spent months discussing its desire to implement a “Snooper’s Charter” and ban strong encryption, we would do well to remember that the Brits are the reason we have the Fourth Amendment (and the First), rather than echoing their arguments for broader surveillance powers.

  • Copyrights

    • MPAA ‘Softens’ Movie Theater Anti-Piracy Policy, Drops Bounty

      The MPAA has issued an updated version of its best practices for the prevention of movie piracy in theaters. While much remains the same, theater managers are no longer required to call the police for every incident. In addition, the long-standing pirate hunting bounty program has disappeared.

    • Microsoft Lobbying Group Forces ‘Pirate’ To Get 200,000 Views On Anti-Piracy Video… Whole Thing Backfires

      The history of anti-piracy activities by the legacy entertainment and software industries always seems to focus on the mistaken idea that if only the public were “more educated” piracy would magically go away. That’s never been true. In fact, nearly every attempt at an education campaign hasn’t just failed to work, it’s often actively backfired and been mocked and parodied. And yet, if you talk to politicians and industry folks, they still seem to think that “more education” will magically work next time. One can only wonder what the hell the geniuses at the Software Alliance (the BSA — which used to be the “Business Software Alliance” but has dropped the “Business” part, but not the “B” in its name) were thinking when they decided to “settle” with a guy who apparently uploaded some Microsoft software in the Czech Republic. The terms of the settlement required him to take part in a “professionally produced” anti-piracy video and that the video needed to get 200,000 views on YouTube or he might face having to pay damages in court.

      The BSA is a well-known front for Microsoft, and has a long history of rather ridiculous claims about “piracy,” so I guess it’s little surprise that it’s now engaged in out and out propaganda, but done so badly that it’s turned the whole thing into a laughingstock. The whole “compelled speech” aspect of the settlement, including the requirement to get so many views, strikes basically everyone as ridiculous and stupid.

    • German Museum Sues Wikimedia Foundation Over Photos Of Public Domain Works Of Art

      The mission of museums and art galleries is generally to spread knowledge and appreciation of beautiful and interesting objects. So it’s rather sad when they start taking legal action against others that want to help them by disseminating images of public domain works of art to a wider audience. This obsession with claiming “ownership” of something as immaterial as the copyright in a photograph of a work of art made centuries ago led the UK National Portrait Gallery (NPG) to threaten Derrick Coetzee, a software developer, when he downloaded images from the NPG and added them to Wikimedia Commons, the media repository for Wikipedia, of which he was an administrator.

11.30.15

Links 30/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC3, Zaragoza Moving to FOSS

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Historians and detectives keep track of data with open source tool

    Segrada is a piece of open source software that allows historians (and detectives) to keep track of their data. Unlike wikis or archival databases, its focus lies on information and interrelations within it. Pieces of information might represent persons, places, things, or concepts. These “nodes” can be bidirectionally connected with each other to semantically represent friendship, blood relation, whereabouts, authorship, and so on. Hence the term “semantic graph database,” since information can be displayed as a graph of semantically connected nodes.

  • 5 open-source alternatives to Slack

    Here are five full-featured Slack alternatives — tools that go beyond IRC, in other words — that are open-source software, which means you can download it and run it on whatever server you want. That implies that you’re in charge of security, for better or worse, instead of, say, Slack.

  • KTU exams to run on open source software

    All examinations of the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) — which run on an online platform — would switch to open source software from the second semester onwards. For the first semester examinations, the KTU would use a proprietary, Microsoft, software.

    In response to demands from student organisations, the KTU has pushed back its first semester examinations by two days. The first of the examinations would now begin on December 4 instead of December 2. The first of the results would be published on December 19.

  • KTU goes ahead with exam outsourcing
  • What is hacker culture?

    Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar (an important work describing the effectiveness of open collaboration and development), recently wrote a piece calling for “Social Justice Warriors” to be ejected from the hacker community. The primary thrust of his argument is that by calling for a removal of the “cult of meritocracy”, these SJWs are attacking the central aspect of hacker culture – that the quality of code is all that matters.

  • #HROS project: putting the open source into HR

    The #HROS project was launched in back in May of 2015 to bring the worlds of human resources (HR) and open source (OS) together, hence the name: HROS.

  • 3 reasons open source needs Open Badges

    The Fedora Badges system, which is interoperable with Mozilla’s Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI), lists more than 17,000 contributors who have been issued digital badges. And, at the top of the leaderboard is Kevin, who has been issued 142 badges—less than half of the overall number of badges available! Those badges Kevin has achieved are a mix of Content, Development, Community, Quality, and Event badges, with some easier, and some harder, to obtain.

  • Will Open Source HR Make Life Easier For Companies?
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • IceCat 38.4.0 release

        GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0. https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Telefonica, Huawei Team on OpenStack-based Cloud Initiative

      Huawei has a new deal with giant Spanish telecom company Telefonica through which the two firms will work on helping enterprises move infrastructure onto Telefonica’s OpenStack-based cloud. It’s yet another indicaton of the global phenomenon that OpenStack has become.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • How I ended up working in open source healthcare

      I am prepared and excited to take on that challenge, and to make sure my chosen FOSS project, with the wind of open source as a dominate model in the world to drive us, tries to change the world of healthcare IT for the better.

      Viva la FOSS!

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • A few thoughts on OpenBSD 5.8

      I’ve been using OpenBSD since way back at release 2.3 in 1998, so I’ve gone through upgrades that took a fair amount of work due to incompatible changes, like the switch from ipf to pf for host firewalling or the change to ELF binaries. The upgrade from 5.7 to 5.8 was a pretty smooth and easy one, for the most part. The two most painful changes for me were the replacement of sudo with doas and the dropping of support in the rc.conf for the pf_rules variable. While sudo is still available as a package, I like the idea of reducing attack surface with a simpler program, so I made the switch. The two things I miss most about sudo are the ability to authenticate for a period of time and the ability to have a single config file across a whole set of servers. The former I’m just living with, the latter I’ve adjusted to by having a single config file that has lines commented out depending on which server it’s on. I did have one moment of concern about the quality of doas when it incorrectly reported the line number on which I had a syntax error in the config file–fortunately, this was just a failure to increment the line count on continuation lines (ending with a “\”) which is fixed in the -current release.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GIMP 2.10 Development Started, Will Bring GEGL-Based Tools, OpenEXR Support

      After turning 20 years of activity, the GIMP developers have been happy to announce that the development cycle of the upcoming GIMP 2.10 open-source and cross-platform image editor software has started with the immediate availability of GIMP 2.9.2.

    • GCC 5.2 vs. GCC 6.0 On An Intel Haswell-E Linux System

      With GCC 6 feature development now over I decided to run some benchmarks comparing GCC 5.2.0 against GCC 6.0.0 (the 20151124 snapshot) on an Intel Haswell-E Xeon system running Ubuntu.

    • GIMP 2.9.2 Released With GEGL Technical Preview

      Days after celebrating the project’s 20th birthday, GIMP 2.9.2 has been released as the latest development snapshot towards the GIMP 2.10 image editor.

    • Do You Like What I Do For a Living?

      But software freedom is not merely an ideology for me. I believe the ideology matters because I see the lives of developers and users are better when they have software freedom. I first got a taste of this IRL when I attended the earliest Perl conferences in the late 1990s. My friend James and I stayed in dive motels and even slept in a rental car one night to be able to attend. There was excitement in the Perl community (my first Free Software community). I was exhilarated to meet in person the people I’d seen only as god-like hackers posting on perl5-porters. James was so excited he asked me to take a picture of him jumping as high as he could with his fist in the air in front of the main conference banner. At the time, I complained; I was mortified and felt like a tourist taking that picture. But looking back, I remember that James and I felt that same excitement and just were expressing it differently.

    • FixedMisc [MirOS] for GNU GRUB2
    • The GNU General Public License is not magic pixie dust
    • Software Freedom Conservancy

      Some projects receive support from or are managed by companies or trade associations that benefit from the software the community produces. That is great as long as the community objectives and the company profit motives are aligned. Free Software is a great way for companies to work together. The services that the Conservancy provides allows projects to define their own terms and conditions for the community to work together. And companies can then join on equal terms. Making sure the project and community will work together for the public benefit.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Zaragoza continues its transition to open source

      The Spanish city of Zaragoza continues to expand its use of free and open source software. The city administration now has 1200 of its 3000 PCs running the AZLinux desktop, which is based on Ubuntu Linux. On all workstations, LibreOffice is the default office suite, and the city by default uses the Open Document Format ODF.

    • What’s behind Europe’s love affair with open-source?

      Government IT departments in Europe, over the past several years, have been eager to trumpet their interest in open-source software – and have been backing their interest up with action. Open-source has become a matter of national policy in the U.K., a critical part of the infrastructure at the European Commission, and the standard for the city of Munich.

    • Portugal offers IT training to government workers

      Portugal’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation (AMA) is offering IT training that is open to all public administration staff members. The courses are intended to help modernise public administrations and to speed up the introduction of eGovernment services.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • 3 Open Source Alternatives to Using the Google Maps API

        The rise of data mining, mobile applications and social media, among many others, has dramatically changed the face of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and what they can accomplish. This has led to the creation of tools suited to various use cases. The most obvious place to begin when thinking about GIS is the web maps available through the Google Maps API.

  • Programming

    • GCC Working On ARMv8.1, Clang Working On ARMv8.2 Support

      ARM’s Matthew Wahab posted the new patch series yesterday, “ARMv8.1 includes an extension to ARM which adds two Adv.SIMD instructions, vqrdmlah and vqrdmlsh. This patch set adds support for ARMv8.1 and for the new instructions, enabling the architecture with –march=armv8.1-a. The new instructions are enabled when both ARMv8.1 and a suitable fpu options are set, for instance with -march=armv8.1-a -mfpu=neon-fp-armv8 -mfloat-abi=hard.”

    • Forum PHP in Paris 2015

      First, a huge thanks to AFUP for the organization of this great event, as always, reception was beyond reproach.

    • PHP version 5.6.16

      RPM of PHP version 5.6.16 are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 21 and remi-php56 repository for Fedora ≤ 20 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Researchers poke hole in custom crypto built for Amazon Web Services

      Underscoring just how hard it is to design secure cryptographic software, academic researchers recently uncovered a potentially serious weakness in an early version of the code library protecting Amazon Web Services.

      Ironically, s2n, as Amazon’s transport layer security implementation is called, was intended to be a simpler, more secure way to encrypt and authenticate Web sessions. Where the OpenSSL library requires more than 70,000 lines of code to execute the highly complex TLS standard, s2n—short for signal to noise—has just 6,000 lines. Amazon hailed the brevity as a key security feature when unveiling s2n in June. What’s more, Amazon said the new code had already passed three external security evaluations and penetration tests.

    • Social engineering: hacker tricks that make recipients click

      Social engineering is one of the most powerful tools in the hacker’s arsenal and it generally plays a part in most of the major security breaches we hear about today. However, there is a common misconception around the role social engineering plays in attacks.

    • Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to $8 Million Settlement Over Sony Hack

      Sony agreed to reimburse employees up to $10,000 apiece for identity-theft losses

    • Cyber Monday: it’s the most wonderful time of year for cyber-attackers

      Malicious attacks on shoppers increased 40% on Cyber Monday in 2013 and 2014, according to EnigmaSoftware.com, an anti-malware and spyware company, compared to the average number of attacks on days during the month prior. Other cybersecurity software providers have identified the December holiday shopping season as the most dangerous time of year to make online purchases.

      “The attackers know that there are more people online, so there will be more attacks,” said Christopher Budd, Trend Micro’s global threat communications manager. “Cyber Monday is not a one-day thing, it’s the beginning of a sustained focus on attacks that go after people in the holiday shopping season.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UK could be prosecuted for war crimes over missiles sold to Saudi Arabia that were used to kill civilians in Yemen

      Britain is at risk of being prosecuted for war crimes because of growing evidence that missiles sold to Saudi Arabia have been used against civilian targets in Yemen’s brutal civil war, Foreign Office lawyers and diplomats have warned.

      Advisers to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, have stepped up legal warnings that the sale of specialist missiles to the Saudis, deployed throughout nine months of almost daily bombing raids in west Yemen against Houthi rebels, may breach international humanitarian law.

    • Stop The War: Thousands Protest Against Plans To Join Air Strikes Against Islamic State In Syria
    • The Charge of the Blairite Brigade

      Supporting neo-con military attacks in the Middle East is one of two prime articles of faith of a Blairite.

    • Terror Junkies: The West’s Addiction to Funding Radical Groups

      Despite all the grandstanding and rhetoric from the French President and Western leaders, a critical point that needs to be emphasised is that Western governments are complicit in the Paris attacks and any future terror attacks (there will be more). If we put aside for a second the thesis that the Paris attack was a false flag operation or that French intelligence simply allowed it to happen, what can’t be disputed is that Western foreign policy has directly resulted in the rise of terrorism globally, most notably the rise of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

    • ISIS’ Grip on Libyan City Gives It a Fallback Option

      One manifestation of the shift is a turn toward large-scale terrorist attacks against distant targets, including the massacre in Paris and the bombing of a Russian charter jet over Egypt, Western intelligence officials say. But the group’s leaders are also devoting new resources and attention to far-flung affiliate groups that pledged their loyalty from places like Egypt, Afghanistan, Nigeria and elsewhere. There are at least eight in all, according to Western officials.

    • David Cameron, there aren’t 70,000 moderate fighters in Syria – and whoever heard of a moderate with a Kalashnikov, anyway?

      Not since Hitler ordered General Walther Wenck to send his non-existent 12th Army to rescue him from the Red Army in Berlin has a European leader believed in military fantasies as PR Dave Cameron did last week. Telling the House of Commons about the 70,000 “moderate” fighters deployed in Syria was not just lying in the sense that Tony Blair lied – because Blair persuaded himself to believe in his own dishonesty – but something approaching burlesque. It was whimsy – ridiculous, comic, grotesque, ludicrous. It came close to a unique form of tragic pantomime.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Obama’s War on Truth

      The four USAF military drone operators who recently blew the whistle and exposed the callousness and complete lack of concern for civilian casualties of the US drone assassination programme, (and received very little mainstream media exposure), yesterday found their bank accounts and credit cards all blocked by the US government. The effects of that on daily life are devastating. My source is their lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, through the Sam Adams Associates (of which we are both members).

      No criminal charges have been brought against any of the men, despite numerous written threats of prosecution. Their finances appear to have been frozen by executive action under anti-terrorist legislation. This is yet a further glaring example of the use of “anti-terror” powers against people who are not remotely terrorist.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Beijing residents told to stay inside as smog levels soar

      Beijing’s residents have been advised to stay indoors after air pollution in the Chinese capital reached hazardous levels.

      The warning comes as the governments of more than 190 nations gather in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change.

    • EU-US trade deal will unleash oil sands and fatally undermine climate efforts

      The prospects for a meaningful agreement at the UN climate change talks beginning on Monday are bleak. As a result, so too are the prospects for the 100 million more people predicted to be living in poverty by 2030 as a result of global warming.

      Though framed by record high temperatures and an increasing number of extreme weather events, the Paris talks are already beset by the same problems that repeatedly dog climate change negotiations: the richest countries steadfastly refuse to meet legal commitments and shoulder their share of responsibility, preferring to uphold the desires of all-powerful corporate lobbies. Meanwhile, the poorest countries meet or exceed their responsibilities.

    • Ban On Tuna Labeled Dolphin-Safe Shows How TPP Will Crush Consumer Rights

      In the last 25 years, dolphin-safe labeling of tuna managed to reduce unnecessary annual deaths of the mammals from over 100,000 to only 3,000—an astounding 97% reduction—but the World Trade Organization just effectively nullified this critical program.

      In order to placate Mexico as a member nation of the upcoming (and seemingly inevitable) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the WTO deemed dolphin-safe labeling a “technical barrier to trade”—even though that environmentally-conscious label is voluntary and applies equally to domestic and foreign companies. At issue are fishing methods that exploit the as-yet-unexplained symbiotic relationship between tunas and dolphins.

    • Paris climate activists put under house arrest using emergency laws

      At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.

      One legal adviser to the activists said many officers raided his Paris apartment and occupied three floors and a staircase in his block.

      French authorities did not respond to requests for comment but lawyers said that the warrants were issued under state of emergency laws, imposed after the terror attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.

    • Prominent climate scientist offers scathing critique of Obama’s Paris plans

      Three days before the beginning of a critical international climate conference in Paris, one of the world’s most famous climate scientists, James Hansen, has written a withering criticism of President Obama’s approach.

      The Paris meeting will be attended by the heads of state of more than 130 countries, including Obama. Heading in, the United States has adopted a policy of calling for each country to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, and will push for the adoption of technology to capture and store carbon dioxide. That approach, Hansen wrote in a new letter posted on his web site, “is so gross, it is best described as unadulterated 100 percent pure bullshit.”

      In his “communication” published on Friday, Hansen argued that world leaders are eager to avoid the embarrassment of the last major climate meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, which was largely ineffectual. This time, world leaders will reach a deal, Hansen says, and pat themselves on the back. This deal will likely include pledges to cut emissions by 2025. For example, the United States is expected to aim for cuts of 25 percent based on 2005 carbon levels.

    • Suharto’s fires

      During the 1990s, the scale of the burning grew each year as the forestland converted into tree plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan expanded. Plantation firms and the land-clearance contractors they hired almost exclusively use fire to clear land. Scientists assessing the forest fire damage say that approximately five million hectares of land were burned in 1997. Of this, 20 per cent was estimated to be forest, 50 per cent agricultural land, and 30 per cent non-forest vegetation and grasslands. Putting this in financial terms, scientists working for Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia have calculated that the direct and indirect short-term impacts of 1997/1998 have exceeded US$ 4 billion, equivalent to total annual health spending by both the public and private sectors.

    • Indonesia is burning – but how responsible is the palm oil industry?

      Indonesia’s forests are being ravaged by forest and peatland fires that are sparking a public health and environmental crisis – but how responsible is the palm oil industry?

    • VW knew fuel usage in some cars was too high a year ago: report

      Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) top executives knew a year ago that some of the company’s cars were markedly less fuel efficient than had been officially stated, Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag reported, without specifying its sources.

      VW in early November revealed that it had understated the level of carbon dioxide emissions and fuel usage in around 800,000 cars sold mainly in Europe.

      The scandal, which will likely cost VW billions, initially centered on software on up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide that VW admitted was designed to artificially suppress nitrogen oxide emissions in a test setting.

      The Bild am Sonntag report contradicts VW’s assertion, however, that it only uncovered the false CO2 emissions labeling as part of efforts to clear up the diesel emissions scandal, which became public in September.

  • Finance

    • Saru Jayaraman on Outlawing the Tipped Minimum Wage

      This week on CounterSpin: While many folks go to family or friends for Thanksgiving dinner, somewhere around 15 million Americans have that holiday meal at a restaurant, with more millions ordering food to eat at home. What that means is that millions of restaurant workers don’t have a choice about where to have their Thanksgiving. And of course that’s only a small part of the things that make work in that industry difficult and, for many, precarious.

    • HSBC whistleblower given five years’ jail over biggest leak in banking history

      Hervé Falciani sentenced in his absence for financial espionage by federal court for exposing wrongdoing at HSBC’s private Swiss bank

    • TTIP talks: EU alleged to have given ExxonMobil access to confidential strategies

      The EU appears to have given the US oil company ExxonMobil access to confidential negotiating strategies considered too sensitive to be released to the European public during its negotiations with the US on the trade agreement TTIP, documents reveal.

      Officials also asked one oil refinery association for “concrete input” on the text of an energy chapter for the negotiations, as part of the EU’s bid to write unfettered imports of US crude oil and gas into the trade deal.

      The employers’ confederation BusinessEurope was even offered “contact points” with US negotiators in the State Department and Department of Energy, according to the cache of material which was released under access to documents laws.

    • SMEs want a TTIP rethink

      What would drive the boss of a Bavarian mechanical engineering company to launch a business initiative against TTIP? Martina Römmelt-Fella detailed her concerns about it to EurActiv Germany.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Pentagon Must Be Thankful for the Turkey Washington Post Gave Its Readers

      So here we have US claims that Russian airstrikes are killing civilians backed up by statistics from a presumably independent human rights group. Meanwhile, when the US government claims to killed almost no civilians in its air attacks, the Post just takes the Pentagon’s word for it.

    • Sex and Death

      Having been sat the last three hours in a lounge at Stansted, with a Sky News screen in front of me, it has been fascinating to watch them six times cover the Grant Shapps resignation and never mention the word sex. It was all apparently just about “office bullying.” There has also been some pontification about why, over Shapps and Coulson, Cameron is such a bad judge of people.

    • Dylann Roof Is Not a “Terrorist” — But Animal Rights Activists Who Free Minks From Slaughter Are

      The FBI on Friday announced the arrests in Oakland of two animal rights activists, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane, and accused the pair of engaging in “domestic terrorism.” This comes less than a month after the FBI director said he does not consider Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof a “terrorist.” The activists’ alleged crimes: “They released thousands of minks from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.” That’s it. Now they’re being prosecuted and explicitly vilified as “terrorists,” facing 10-year prison terms.

  • Censorship

    • Swedish court: ‘We cannot ban Pirate Bay’

      After considering the case for almost a month, the District Court of Stockholm ruled that copyright holders could not make Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget block Pirate Bay.

      The court found that Bredbandsbolaget’s operations do not amount to participation in the copyright infringement offences carried out by some of its ‘pirate’ subscribers.

      Pirate Bay is blocked by many European ISPs but anti-piracy outfits have always hoped that one day the notorious site would be restricted in Sweden.

    • Divya Dutta on Censorship: Director Has Every Right to Express
    • Censorship and Control

      Recent events in Punjab are consistent with the Indian government’s strategy of public silence and local repression.

    • Censorship in the age of social media irrelevant: Divya Dutta

      Actress Divya Dutta feels at a time when everything is easily available online, the relevance of censorship on films in the country is questionable.

      The 38-year-old “Bhaag Milkh Bhaag” actress says she agrees with filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who recently said that censorship should be abolished.

      Divya says the audience today is quite sorted and should have the right to choose what they want to watch.

    • Censor Board Chairman seeks Dr. D’s advice on censorship
    • Snipping the kissing scene in ‘Spectre’ was illogical: Emraan Hashmi

      Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi has termed the censor board’s move to trim the length of kissing scene in the new James Bond film “Spectre” illogical and “going back to dark ages”.

    • Abolish censorship: Shyam Benegal

      Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani has been criticised on social media as well as by his colleagues and Bollywood actors after it was revealed that board had shortened the length of kissing scenes in James Bond movie “Spectre”.

    • Can Myanmar leave censorship behind as it enters a new era?

      Following the landslide election result for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) earlier this month, Myanmar appears to be transforming from one of the world’s most repressive regimes to a relatively free country.

      But signs of regression towards old habits by the military over the past year, and their continued presence and power of veto in parliament even after the election result, the future for democratic freedoms – including freedom of expression – is far from guaranteed.

    • Censorship by satellite

      Kissing is also expunged, presumably on the assumption that lip-to-lip congress is a gateway behaviour that, if glimpsed even briefly, will inspire the innocent to fornicate in the streets like frenzied simians. Unobstructed cleavage is likewise a harbinger of civilisation’s demise.

    • Identity and Censorship: A Life of Doing Standup in China

      Speaking of which, we are living in one of the most censored countries. Have you personally, or the club you are part of, ever run into any censorship issues?

      Oh yes, of course. There was a whole series of shows that was banned because one joke was heard by, I don’t know, some censor from the government. But the joke was totally harmless. The thing is they never have a standard, like which line you can not cross. If they think you are not right, and then they can just ban you. Another time we were supposed to have an open mic and a couple of officials from the Cultural Bureau [Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture] said “OK you can have shows here, but we are going to censor you for the whole thing. If you guys are OK, then that will be OK. But if something happens we have to report it.” So we decided not to do the show.

    • China’s latest censorship battlefield is global beauty pageants

      The organizers of a Miss Earth beauty pageant have refused to allow its Taiwanese contestant on stage or to be photographed by the press, after she refused to wear a sash bearing “Chinese Taipei,” according to an online post written by the contestant.

    • Tech Firms and Users Partner Up for Censorship Dance

      At China File, Professor Hu Yong from Peking University’s School of Journalism and Communication looks at China’s censorship of personal media, emphasizing the rise of pre-publication censorship by new media platforms, which in turn encourages self-censorship by users.

    • Chinese Activist Sentenced to 6 Years for Protesting Censorship

      China has sentenced three human rights activists to harsh prison terms for participating in an anti-censorship protest in 2013.

      The attorney for the three, Zhang Lei, told VOA that he is “shocked and angered” by the verdict, which gave a sentence of six years to activist Guo Feixiong.

      Zhang said the court added an extra criminal charge to his client’s case just moments before Friday’s trial started.

    • China Jails Civil Rights Activist Guo Feixiong For 6 Years Over Censorship Protest

      China has jailed a leading civil rights activist for six years on charges of disturbing public order — in part for his role in protests against censorship at a popular liberal newspaper in Guangzhou. A court in southern Guangdong province on Friday passed the sentence on 48-year-old Guo Feixiong in a hearing off-limits to foreign media, his lawyer said. Two other activists were also jailed, in what human rights groups said was a sign of a deepening crackdown on civil liberties in China.

      Guo, a former university lecturer who has campaigned for greater freedoms in China for the past two decades, was detained after taking part in protests in January 2013 outside the offices of the Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou. The protests were a response to the spiking of the paper’s New Year’s editorial, which had called for more thorough implementation of China’s constitution, including its promise of freedom of speech for all.

    • Chinese rights activist jailed for six years

      A prominent Chinese rights activist, Guo Feixiong, was sentenced to six years imprisonment on Friday by a court in southern China, amid a continuing crackdown on human rights advocates across the country, his lawyer said on Friday.

      Two other activists, Liu Yuandong and Sun Desheng, were sentenced to three years and two-and-a-half years respectively, according to Guo’s lawyer, Zhang Lei.

    • Protests in Turkey after reporters arrested for ‘spying’ over arms report

      Hundreds of people demonstrated in Turkey Friday in support of two journalists from a leading newspaper being held on spying charges over a report suggesting Ankara shipped arms to rebels in Syria.

      Over 1,000 demonstrators, including a number of journalists and opposition MPs, gathered outside the Istanbul offices of Cumhuriyet daily shouting slogans such as “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism,” and “Tayyip thief, Tayyip liar, Tayyip killer”, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    • Third Turkish journalist arrested amid fears of Ankara censorship: reports

      Local media has reported that a third Turkish reporter has been arrested, amid concern Ankara is cracking down on free speech. Yesterday, protesters took to the streets following the arrest of two other journalists.

    • District of North Vancouver harassment policy stokes fears of censorship

      The District of North Vancouver is looking to rein in “inappropriate, offensive, misleading, harassing or threatening” letters and emails sent to district staff and council members.

      The move however has some council watchers crying censorship.

    • Project Censored 2015

      Ten news items the media ignored

    • The Secret Censorship of Online Porn

      As long as credit cards are the dominant way to purchase items online, Visa and MasterCard will still hold this power over the smut peddlers of the world. So unless Bitcoin, or another relatively unregulated digital currency, happens to take off, banks will continue to have the power to silently shape the landscape of porn, enforcing their view of acceptable sex on the rest of us, whether we like it or not.

    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Orders Censorship Of ‘Man In The High Castle’ Ads

      The advertisements for the show wrap seats on New York subways. They feature an American flag with a German eagle and iron cross in place of the stars. There is also a flag with imperial Japanese imagery. The crimes against humanity by the Nazis during World War II were so gruesome that it’s a pretty shocking thing to see upon entering a subway car and Democratic mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio fielded complaints. He called the advertising campaign “irresponsible” and “offensive” and called for their removal.

    • That Was a False Alarm on Millennials and Free Speech

      Last week, I wrote about a new Pew poll that showed that 40 percent of millennials would be in favor of government bans on speech offensive to minority groups. Many people took this as a dire sign that kids these days are Nae Nae–ing themselves straight into an authoritarian future, especially given all the recent talk about young people’s coddling and fragility.

    • Poll: Censorship More Popular Among Millennials

      Forty percent of millennials believe the U.S. government should be able to censor speech that is considered offensive to minority groups, a new poll from Pew Research Center finds.

      The Pew poll identified a notable disparity in opinion between millennials—those ages 18 to 34—and those surveyed from three other age groups.

      The poll found that 27 percent of Generation X, those ages 35 to 50, favor such government censorship, as did 24 percent of baby boomers, ages 51 to 69.

      By comparison, only 12 percent of the so-called Silent Generation, ages 70 to 87, agreed.

    • Filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s doors explore censorship at the Aga Khan Museum

      Exhibition highlights celebrated Iranian director’s approach to living and working under censorship.

    • New Zealand police accused of censorship

      The move has been roundly criticized by the country’s academic community and opposition politicians who say it amounts to censorship.

      A New Zealand police spokesman says that the contract was designed to protect the police and the data from misrepresentation by researchers who could potentially “misunderstand” the data they were analyzing.

      Police also justify the agreement by pointing out that requests often involve access to confidential information and personal identifiers.

      “The research agreement which academics are expected to sign with police sets out our expectations, including that research is accurate, balanced and constructive,” said Mark Evans, the police force’s Deputy Chief Executive of Strategy, in a statement.

    • Police censorship of crime research “an outrage”

      The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says.

    • NGOs condemn imprisonment and nationality revocation of photographer

      Award-winning photographer Sayed Ahmed al-Mousawi was sentenced on Monday, 23 November 2015, to 10 years in prison and had his nationality revoked, along with 12 others, after covering a series of demonstrations in early 2014. Security forces detained Al-Mousawi for over a year without trial or official charges, accused him of being a part of a terrorist cell and subjected him to torture. The undersigned NGOs condemn the government’s continued attacks on independent journalism, policy of media censorship and severe restrictions on freedom of expression in Bahrain.

    • TPP allows Internet censorship to favour big corporations, say Pakatan MPs

      PKR’s Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen and Parti Amanah Negara’s (Amanah) Kuala Krai MP Dr Hatta Ramli said that Internet service providers (ISP) would be given the role of “internet police” in the new trade pact when it comes to copyrighted content.

    • MP warns of widespread Internet censorship under TPPA

      The Internet could face widespread censorship under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as Internet service providers (ISPs) would be free to remove copyrighted online content without having to face the music, warned Amanah lawmaker Mohd Hatta Ramli.

  • Privacy

    • Huge Security Flaw Can Expose VPN Users’ Real IP-Adresses

      A newly discovered vulnerability can expose the real IP-addresses of VPN users with relative ease. The issue, which affects all VPN protocols and operating systems, was uncovered by Perfect Privacy who alerted several affected competitors to the threat before making it public.

    • [Enigmail] Recover GPG password remembered by Thunderbird (passphrase in session)

      For future people, here’s how you can recover your PGP key if stored in your GNOME session.

    • Updated: Green Light or No, Nest Cam Never Stops Running

      In-brief: Alphabet’s Nest Cam continues to run even after users have turned it “off,” the company acknowledged on Tuesday, raising questions about transparency and the potential for privacy abuses using the popular home surveillance device.

    • UK ISP boss points out massive technical flaws in Investigatory Powers Bill

      The head of the UK ISP Andrews & Arnold, Adrian Kennard, has pointed out a number of major technical issues with the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snooper’s Charter). Kennard and other representatives of the UK Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA) met with the Home Office on Tuesday, where they presented a number of ethical, technical, and privacy related issues with the incoming new law. These issues, plus some of the Home Office’s responses, can be found in written evidence (PDF) penned by Kennard.

    • NSA to shut down bulk phone surveillance program by Sunday

      The U.S. National Security Agency will end its daily vacuuming of millions of Americans’ phone records by Sunday and replace the practice with more tightly targeted surveillance methods, the Obama administration said on Friday.

      As required by law, the NSA will end its wide-ranging surveillance program by 11:59 p.m. EST Saturday (4:59 a.m. GMT Sunday) and expects to have the new, scaled-back system in place by then, the White House said.

    • Dear ZDNet: Comcast Has Been Sketchily Injecting Messages Into User’s Browsers For Years

      None of that is to say that the privacy and security concerns aren’t very real, of course, and ZDNet does a nice job of discussing those concerns. But it’s not new. Perhaps the better conversation to be had is why anyone in their right minds would think that Comcast deserves anyone’s trust to the level where users’ browsers should be injected with copyright violation notices in a system rife with abuse from pretty much every player involved.

    • Stop the anti-encryption propaganda now

      I paused a TV show last week as one of those lower-third ads promoting the local newscast was displayed. It screamed, “Encryption preventing police from catching criminals, more at 11.” There’s nothing subtle about that, I pointed out to my wife, nothing at all. Clearly, this “encryption” stuff is very dangerous and should be made illegal, right?

      Then the world was scarred by the attacks in Paris a few days later. Before any real news about the attacks made it to the mainstream media, we were already hearing how encryption was the reason these attacks succeeded. The New York Times posted a story to that effect, then pulled it and redirected the link to a completely different article about France’s retaliation. The Wayback Machine still has the original, which states, “The attackers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology.” This is the functional equivalent of stating, “The attackers are believed to have communicated using words or sounds.”

    • Never mind Internet Connection Records, what about Relevant Communications Data?

      It was always a good bet that the draft Investigatory Powers Bill would broaden data retention obligations to cover more categories of communications data. That was at the core of the Communications Data Bill, blocked in 2012 during the Coalition government and vowed after the May 2015 election to be resurrected.

      The draft Bill has duly delivered, accompanied by a blizzard of commentary about the propriety of forcing communications service providers to retain users’ browsing histories.

      [...]

      Internet connection records and the proposed restrictions on accessing them (clause 47 of the draft Bill) have become a lightning rod for the ensuing discussion: not just the rights and wrongs of requiring browsing data to be retained, but whether internet connection records as defined in the draft Bill can be matched to real categories of data processed by service providers.

      The focus on internet connection records is understandable. The Home Office’s Guide to the powers in the draft Bill focuses on internet connection records. The estimated cost increase in the Data Retention Impact Assessment mentions only internet connection records as a new category of retained data.

    • The NSA’s bulk metadata collection authority just expired. What now?

      The language in the US Justice Department statement is far from inspiring, written in bland legalese, but it still represents an important victory for the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • At 11:59pm tonight, the NSA will stop in-house phone metadata collection

      The Obama administration said on Friday that it would go ahead with the scheduled closure of the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records collection program. The USA Freedom Act, which passed in early June, outlined this weekend’s deadline.

    • NSA will stop collecting bulk phone data by the end of the day

      At 11:59PM ET tonight, the NSA will shut down its systems that collect bulk phone call data from Americans across the US. The move comes as planned, precisely six months after the USA Freedom Act was signed into law.

    • NSA ends bulk phone surveillance programme; replaces it with targeted monitoring
    • The NSA Will Finally Kill Its Metadata Snooping Program This Weekend
    • “Snowden Effect” in Action: NSA Authority to Collect Bulk Phone Metadata Expires
    • The NSA Says It Will Finally Stop Spying On Millions of Americans at Midnight on Saturday
    • At midnight, the NSA will no longer keep bulk records of telephone calls
    • NSA to shut down bulk phone surveillance program =
    • Ex-NSA chief pleads guilty to killing 3-year-old adopted S. Korean son
    • Former NSA division head pleads guilty to beating adopted special-needs son, 3, to death at his Maryland home
    • Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty in Adopted Son’s Death
    • Former NSA analyst pleads guilty to beating adopted son to death
    • Can the EU beat Big Data and the NSA? An Overview of the Max Schrems saga
    • Federal Judge Rules Against NSA Telephone Surveillance Program
    • Spy court appoints new advisers under NSA reform law
    • US spy court appoints lawyers to panel of advisers
    • NSA bungling deserves scrutiny

      But instead of being rewarded for developing a cutting-edge electronic spy system on the cheap, Binney and his crew were bureaucratically sandbagged by then-NSA Director Michael Hayden and his signals intelligence director, Maureen Baginsky.

      THINTHREAD’S deployment was officially canceled by Baginsky three weeks before the 9/11 attacks. Baginsky instead put American taxpayer money into a far more expensive, and ultimately failed, program named TRAILBLAZER.

    • Could the Third Amendment be used to fight the surveillance state?

      The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution is just 32 words: “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

      Amongst very nerdy constitutional law circles, the Third Amendment is practically a joke. It’s never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision, and it only turns up rarely in legal cases. The reality is that the federal government isn’t going to be sending American soldiers to individual homes anytime soon. Even The Onion tackled the issue in 2007: “Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year.”

    • John McAfee: The NSA is running on ‘sheer luck’ — and that’s a travesty

      This past week, a report came out that suggests “sheer luck” was one of the elements an NSA program needed to find useful info in the sea of surveillance data. The info came from an NSA in-house newsletter leaked by Edward Snowden, called SIDtoday. Dated March 23, 2011, it was written by a signals development analyst within the operation. In it, the author says that “by sheer luck, (and a ton of hard work) I discovered an important new access to an existing target and am working with TAO to leverage a new mission capability.” TAO stands for Tailored Access Operations, through which the NSA hacking team had collected 900 usernames and passcodes. The target in question was reportedly PDVSA, a Venezuelan state oil company also known as Petróleos de Venezuela.

    • NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company

      The U.S. National Security Agency accessed the internal communications of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela and acquired sensitive data it planned to exploit in order to spy on the company’s top officials, according to a highly classified NSA document that reveals the operation was carried out in concert with the U.S. embassy in Caracas.

      The March 2011 document, labeled, “top secret,” and provided by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, is being reported on in an exclusive partnership between teleSUR and The Intercept.

    • Venezuela’s State Oil Company to Sue US Over Spying
    • Venezuela Could Pursue Legal Action against US over PDVSA Spying Scandal
    • Venezuela’s Oil Sector Condemns U.S. Espionage
    • NSA shuttered bulk email program in 2011, replaced with similar initiatives

      By the time the National Security Agency (NSA) nixed its email surveillance program in December 2011, other surveillance initiatives that could “satisfy certain foreign intelligence requirements” had taken its place, according to a report in The New York Times.

      The Times caught wind of the alternative programs after obtaining documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. Included in the documents are inspector general reports that say the NSA ended the email program because it could meet requirements through other efforts—three other reasons for the program’s demise were redacted. The Times report said while the agency no longer conducts the bulk collection data from telecom companies, under the replacement initiatives the NSA still analyzes the social links found in email patterns.

    • BND and Merkel enabled NSA to Spy on German and French Companies

      It is difficult to believe that Chancellor Angela Merkel believes her own words because sprouting the international terrorist card and national security, in relation to spying on France, EU targets, and German companies, appears absurd. Indeed, her comments about the role of German intelligence (BND) assisting a non-European Union entity, is truly untrustworthy and irresponsible. After all, why was the BND assisting the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on German companies and nations like France?

    • NSA Leaker Thomas Drake Praises Report Showing U.S.’ Failure Toward Whistleblowers

      Whistleblower Thomas Drake, who in 2010 became the first American charged with espionage in almost 40 years and who was a predecessor of Edward Snowden, applauds a new report by the PEN American Center accusing the government of failing to protect whistleblowers.

      The report comes after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said at last month’s Democratic debate that NSA whistleblower Snowden “could have gotten all the protections of being a whistleblower” instead of leaking materials to the press. PEN’s report shows that Clinton is wrong and that the U.S. government gives employees and contractors little assurance that they won’t be prosecuted, even if they go through sanctioned channels.

    • Oakland Tribune editorial: Electronic snooping by NSA won’t stop ISIS

      It’s increasingly clear since the Paris terrorist attacks that the future of Americans’ privacy is largely in Silicon Valley’s hands.

      Valley leaders such as Apple’s Tim Cook, and Alphabet/Google’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Sundar Pichai are going to need the technology community’s full support to ward off political pressure from the FBI and NSA, who want government access to encrypted data on mobile devices.

      The United States needs to aggressively pursue terrorists. But it must not allow emotions of the moment to result in an ill-conceived security policy undermining not only Americans’ privacy but also the success of the nation’s driving industry.

    • Paris terrorist attacks no excuse to roll back civil liberties

      And never mind that the Paris terrorists don’t appear to have relied upon encrypted messages, despite some misleading early reports.

    • Choice between security and liberty a false one

      As our opinion leaders, lawmakers and intelligence community officials reflect on the events leading up to these terrible attacks, and what the appropriate response should be to better detect and thwart terrorist plots in the United States and throughout the world, it is critical that we first step back and take a deep breath.

    • Rolling back mass surveillance

      Under Schneier’s proposed policy, companies could not take away your rights to your data without your explicit permission…

    • Moving Microsoft’s Data Overseas May Not Keep NSA Out

      Earlier this month Microsoft announced the building and expansion of data storage facilities in Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom after an EU court invalidated a key U.S.-EU data transfer agreement in October — a response to mass National Security Agency surveillance programs revealed in the last two years.

      While the move represents the first time a major U.S tech company has admitted it can’t protect user data inside U.S. borders, the question of whether it will allow Microsoft to skirt the U.S. government’s ability to obtain user data is still very much in the air.

      “In terms of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), whether giving the data over to another company would avoid whatever legal obligations they’re under here is a very fact-specific question,” American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Alex Abdo told InsideSources. “I’m sure that the federal government would argue that so long as Microsoft has effective control over the data, they could still be subpoenaed for it or they could still be ordered or compelled to turn it over.”

      Microsoft has been fighting such a battle with the Justice Department since last year, when the government ordered the Silicon Valley giant to turn over user emails stored in a Microsoft data center in Dublin, Ireland as part of an FBI drug trafficking investigation.

    • Judge Grants Injuction Against NSA Bulk Surveillance Program That Is Ending Anyway

      On June 5, 2013, the Guardian published a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) order from the National Security Agency directing Verizon Business Network Services to provide daily records for a three month period of the “telephony metadata” for all telephone calls on its network. The order was part of thousands of documents stolen by Snowden while employed by a NSA contractor. In the months that followed, the government acknowledged it had been receiving this kind of data since at least 2006.

    • When the spooks get it wrong [Ed: even when they bomb hospital, gun down survivors]

      Washington is awash in intelligence agencies, some of civilians and others of the military services, 17 by one count, and a lot of what they produce is gobbledygook. Like all bureaucracies, the intelligence agencies want to protect their turf first, and writing in words (many coined on the spot) that only a small audience can understand is a way of protecting the turf.

    • The next interface moment in computing could be chip implants

      The next big thing in computing could be a glass-encased chip embedded under the skin of your left hand.

      Think of it as an extension of the wearables that can track your movement, your sleep, your heart and pulse rate now. Chip implants can do so much more.

      In its early stages today, it can store data that can be read by Near Field Communication (NFC) readers. Technically speaking you can open your door, your car just by scanning your hand in the NFC reader. It can serve as your key or access pass to the gym, the library, the office, or wherever is it that requires identification.

    • Paris attacks a wake-up call for US intelligence?

      For example, the Islamic State was using encrypted apps and websites before the NSA’s surveillance operations were uncovered, John Chase, a cybersecurity specialist who has worked with the hacking group Anonymous, told The Washington Times Friday.

    • Israël obtains the release of the spy Jonathan Pollard

      He is said to have transmitted to the Mossad an impressive quantity of US documents, sometimes concerning the Near East, but particularly concerning the surveillance methods used by the US to spy on the Soviet Union. Tel-Aviv later sold some of these documents to Moscow, particularly NSA codes, in exchange for the immigration of a million Soviet citizens who claimed to be Jewish.

    • When Top Feds Cash In, They Lead by Example

      Alexander’s IronNet has stirred allegations that he is profiting from the privileges of his former government post. Fueling the controversy was IronNet’s prospective collaboration with NSA’s Chief Technology Officer, a deal IronNet ultimately scuttled after it came to light last fall. While eyes are on the top brass, little attention has been paid to IronNet’s recruitment of young engineers, an issue that acutely plagued the NSA during Alexander’s tenure.

    • Where’s the Evidence That Mass Surveillance Actually Works?

      Current and former government officials have been pointing to the terror attacks in Paris as justification for mass surveillance programs. Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan accused privacy advocates of “hand-wringing” that has made “our ability collectively internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging.” Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden said, “In the wake of Paris, a big stack of metadata doesn’t seem to be the scariest thing in the room.”

      Ultimately, it’s impossible to know just how successful sweeping surveillance has been, since much of the work is secret. But what has been disclosed so far suggests the programs have been of limited value. Here’s a round-up of what we know.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Your ISP Limit Bandwidth? Here Is What You Can Do To Improve Internet Speed

      It is very annoying when our fast Internet connection goes down. Sometimes it is due to some technical error or sometime in case of wired Internet the wires damage causes the Internet completely shutdown. But, it’s all unexpected. We can’t go and fix it. Our ISP (Internet Service Provider) fixes it as soon as possible. But what if your ISP is limit bandwidth and block you to access some sites or the whole Internet world upto a limited speed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Russian court bans Scientology church due to trademark use

        A Russian court has ordered a Church of Scientology branch in Moscow to close after a dispute over its registered US trademarks.

        The Moscow City Court backed calls from Russia’s Ministry of Justice to close the church after accepting the department’s argument that the church cannot call itself a religious organisation if it owns a registered trademark.

      • Scientology church says Russian trademark ruling is ‘disease’ of justice system

        The Church of Scientology has said it will appeal against a decision by a Russian court to close its Moscow branch, describing the ruling as a “disease of the justice system”.

        In a statement sent to WIPR, the church said it will appeal against the decision to the country’s Supreme Court.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Industry Still Doesn’t Understand This Fight Isn’t About Money, But Liberty

        With a lot of people streaming music and video from services such as Spotify, Pandora and Netflix, torrenting is less of a visible conflict than ten years ago. But similar fights continue in the shape of net neutrality and privacy, with the same values: it was never about the money.

      • Cox Can’t Describe Rightscorp As “Extortionists” and “Trolls” During Trial

        Internet provider Cox Communications is not allowed to use derogatory terms to describe Rightscorp during their upcoming trial. Terms such as “copyright troll,” “blackmailer,” and “extortionist” are off-limits and the same is true for Rightscorp’s dire financial position.

      • No Copyright Trolls, Your Evidence Isn’t Flawless

        If you get a letter through the post accusing you of Internet piracy, you must be guilty. That’s the message from most copyright trolls and infuriatingly, even some ‘neutral’ lawyers commenting on these cases. But while it might seem daunting, putting up a fight is not only the right thing to do, but can also cause claimants to back off.

      • Pirate forced to make anti-piracy film to avoid being sued

        A 30-YEAR-OLD MAN accused of piracy has had to make a solemn confession mini-movie to avoid being sued.

        The video is bleak at the start, reminiscent of a hostage video or one of those confessions you might have read about in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is earnest, and perhaps a bit scary, but a storyline soon develops.

        It is not in the English language, which makes the message slightly hard to understand, but ultimately it warns that you do not want to be caught pirating anything. It appears to be a short rags-to-riches story of a man who enjoyed piracy, then met the police, and was sad. Tom Hanks might try for a US remake.

      • It’s illegal to make private copies of music in the UK—again

        The UK’s 2014 private copying exception, which allowed you to make personal copies of your own music, including format-shifted versions, has now been definitively withdrawn, according to The 1709 Blog. As a result, it is once more illegal to make personal backups of your own music, videos or e-books, rip CDs and DVDs to standalone digital files, or upload your music to the cloud.

      • Judge Worries That Piracy Lawsuits Will Flood Courts

        The chief judge of an IP court in Finland has expressed concern that ‘copyright-troll’ piracy lawsuits will cause chaos if a law firm follows through with threats to sue hundreds of Internet users. Using the courts is the ultimate weapon to make alleged pirates settle but experts believe that copyright owners could have an uphill battle.

11.27.15

Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • What I Learned from Blowing An Interview

    Likewise, blogging or writing books about software development is necessarily removed from software development. Patterns, architectures, idioms, and algorithms are potential value. It’s only by applying the ideas that we realize the value. The same goes for creating infrastructure like operating systems, text editors, programming languages, frameworks, and libraries.

  • How Deduplication Has Evolved to Handle the Deluge of Data
  • Hardware

    • More than a billion PCs are over three years old, and there’s little reason to replace them

      And right there is the problem facing the PC industry. You’re replacing a tool with another tool that does the same thing. Much like a light bulb or a hammer. It’s why we’re seeing a proliferation of “smart” devices – smart light bulbs, smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, smart refrigerators – because without that new “smart” twist people just aren’t replacing their light bulbs, thermostats, smoke detectors, or refrigerators until the day they release the magic smoke and stop working.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Winter’s Tale: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

      A Turkish jet shoots down a Russian jet. Parliament votes to send RAF jets into the mix. What could possibly go wrong?

      Unfortunately, things do go wrong. Cameron’s 70,000 “moderate rebels” prove either non-existent or crazed pro-Saudi Wahabbists. Mostly they are the very jihadists Russia is attacking, but we are supporting. In the fog of war, another Russian plane is downed. A Russian pilot downs a British jet. With politicians on all sides afloat on the sea of militarist rhetoric, within 24 hours it has spiralled hopelessly out of control.

    • Cameron Overreaches With “70,000” Claim Nobody Believes

      Cameron is in serious trouble at Westminster after overreaching himself by the claim that there are 70,000 “moderate rebels” willing to take up the ground war with Isis. Quite literally not one single MP believes him. There are those who believe the lie is justified. But even they know it is a lie.

      There is a very interesting parallel here with the claims over Iraqi WMD. The 70,000 figure has again been approved by the Joint Intelligence Committee, with a strong push from MI6. But exactly as with Iraqi WMD, there were strong objections from the less “political” Defence Intelligence, and caveats inserted.

  • Finance

    • China may invest $1 trillion overseas in next 5 years

      Continuing the carrot and stick approach to international trade, Premier Li Keqiang told poorer European nations that China would likely invest in their countries and import their products if they promised to buy Chinese products

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Guardian’s Anti Corbyn Campaign Plumbs New Depths

      Yet astonishingly the Guardian ran three whole articles entirely about the McDonnell gaffe. You could read every single word of these three articles and not learn the basic information provided in each of the three Blue Tory papers above. The utterly disgraceful Jonathan Jones, John Crace and Tom Phillips all managed to produce articles which utterly omit what McDonnell actually said and why he said it, to contrive to give the impression that McDonnell was quoting Mao straight and with approval.

      [...]

      UPDATE: This is absolutely beyond parody. The Guardian have just published a FOURTH article on this subject, by Roy Greenslade, which still fails to say that McDonnell was referring to Osborne’s disposal of British assets to the Chinese state. Instead Greenslade cuts and pastes the most damning comments he can find in the Tory media. Not of course including any of the Tory media quotes given above which, unlike the Guardian, tell you what McDonnell was saying.

      When do you think the fifth Guardian article is coming?

  • Privacy

    • Teardown shows Nest Cam is “always-on” even when you think it’s off

      It turns out your home security camera may see more of your home than you thought it did. In a teardown of the Nest Cam, a team at ABI Research found that even when “off,” the camera draws nearly the same amount of power as when it’s fully powered on, meaning it’s functional and running even when the indicator light claims otherwise.

    • Tor Project appeals for help to carry on, expand anti-spying network

      The Tor anonymous browsing project has asked for donations to improve the network and invest in educational projects.

      The Tor Project is a non-profit scheme which runs Tor. Otherwise known as The Onion Router, the system allows users to enter areas of the Internet which remain unindexed by common search engines.

      The node-and-relay layout also skewers the original IP of the user, improving anonymity and thwarting surveillance efforts.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Why the CIA is smearing Edward Snowden after the Paris attacks

      Decent people see tragedy and barbarism when viewing a terrorism attack. American politicians and intelligence officials see something else: opportunity.

      Bodies were still lying in the streets of Paris when CIA operatives began exploiting the resulting fear and anger to advance long-standing political agendas. They and their congressional allies instantly attempted to heap blame for the atrocity not on Islamic State but on several preexisting adversaries: Internet encryption, Silicon Valley’s privacy policies and Edward Snowden.

      [...]

      The CIA’s blame-shifting game, aside from being self-serving, was deceitful in the extreme. To begin with, there still is no evidence that the perpetrators in Paris used the Internet to plot their attacks, let alone used encryption technology.

      CIA officials simply made that up. It is at least equally likely that the attackers formulated their plans in face-to-face meetings. The central premise of the CIA’s campaign — encryption enabled the attackers to evade our detection — is baseless.

11.26.15

Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

Posted in News Roundup at 9:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Video: PBS Pro Workload Manager Goes Open Source
  • Turris Omnia: high-security, high-performance, open-source router

    An Indigogo campaign was recently launched for the Turis Omnia, promising backers a high-security, high-performance, open-source router.

    “With powerful hardware, Turris Omnia can handle gigabit traffic and still be able to do much more,” the company said.

    “You can use it as a home server, NAS, printserver, and it even has a virtual server built-in.”

  • IBM SystemML Machine Learning Technology Goes Open-Source
  • PuppetLabs Introduces Application Orchestration

    Everybody loves Puppet! Or at the very least, an awful lot of people USE Puppet and in the IT world, “love” is often best expressed by the opening of one’s wallet. I know, in the FOSS world wallets are unnecessary, and Puppet does indeed have an Open Source version. However, once one gets to enterprise-level computing, a tool designed for enterprise scale is preferable and usually there is a cost associated.

    Puppet was originally started as an open source project by Luke Kanies in 2005, essentially out of frustration with the other configuration management products available at the time. Their first commercial product was released in 2011, and today it is the most widely used configuration management tool in the world with about 30,000 companies running it. According to our own surveys, better than 60% of Linux Journal readers use some form of Puppet already and you must like it too as it regularly finishes at or near the top in Readers’ Choice awards.

  • My Open Source Thanksgiving List: Wine, Netflix, OpenWrt and More

    Running 3.1 miles through my hometown. Consuming unreasonable quantities of simple carbohydrates, fat and sodium. Pretending that the former activity justifies the latter. These are some of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

  • Give back and support open source

    Here I am, almost 20 years into my own crazy open source story, and it shows no sign of abating.

  • IBM open-sources machine learning SystemML

    IBM is aiming to popularise its proprietary machine learning programme SystemML through open-source communities.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla contributor creates diabetes project for the masses

        My open source story started in high school as a student. I always considered myself to be a hacker—not the malicious type, but the curious type who liked to tinker with code and hardware. My first encounter with open source was in 2001 when I installed my first Linux distro, Lindows. Of course, I was also an early user of Mozilla Firefox.

      • Mozilla: we’re not getting money from Google any more but we’re doing fine

        For many years, Firefox developer Mozilla generated substantial income from a sponsorship deal with Google; the search and advertising firm paid Mozilla in return for Firefox making Google its default search engine. That deal was ended last year, with Firefox defaulting to Yahoo in the US, Yandex in Russia, and Baidu in China.

      • Best Firefox Add-ons for a Better YouTube Experience

        From blocked videos to annoying ads, there are many things about YouTube we don’t like. These restrictions and distractions only dampen the amazing experience that the video-sharing website is meant to provide. If you are a Firefox user, however, you won’t have to worry about such things. Firefox offers a variety of add-ons that let you fix pretty much any annoyance that YouTube has. Furthermore, they also let you download videos right to your desktop so that you can watch them whenever you want, even without a connection.

      • Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 38.4.0 to Patch High and Critical Security Issues

        Mozilla has announced the release of a new maintenance version of the popular, open-source, and cross-platform Mozilla Thunderbird 38 email and news client for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.

      • Pale Moon 25.8.0 (Firefox Based Browser) Has Been Released

        As you may know, Pale Moon is an open-source, cross-platform browser based on Mozilla Firefox, being up to 25% faster then the original.

        Palemoon is based on Firefox, has support for the official Firefox extensions, but does not contain all of the Firefox features, including: social API, accessibility features, WebRTC and has some specific customizations and configuration options which are not available on Firefox.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Practical tips for working with OpenStack

      To build your own cloud and take advantage of the power of the open source powered OpenStack project takes dedicated resources and a good bit of learning. Due to the size of the project and the pace of development, keeping up can be difficult. The good news is that there are many resources to help, including the official documentation, a variety of OpenStack training and certification programs, as well as community-authored guides.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Has About 1,200 UI-Related Reported Bugs, Come and Help Fix Them

      LibreOffice might be a great office suite, but the community doesn’t like the fact that the UI still looks kind of dated. The good news is that anyone with some coding skills can try to fix that by working on the project.

    • Improving the Toolbars in LibreOffice

      With the Design team, we are working on improving toolbars in LibreOffice. This is part of our long-term goal, making LibreOffice “simple for beginners and powerful for experts“.

      Toolbars in LibreOffice are currently quite limited: A toolbar can have icons, or custom widgets, in a row. You can switch between icon-only, icon+text or text-only display.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Area51 updates (KDE on FreeBSD)

      The area51 repository continues to update, even as the official ports tree for FreeBSD sticks with KDE4. Since the KDE-FreeBSD team is also responsible for the official ports, that basically means that not everything has been shaken out yet, and that the team doesn’t feel that it can provide a really good Frameworks5 / Plasma5 / Applications installation .. yet. I’ve been playing with ideas for a default desktop wallpaper (the upstream default gives me a headache; I’d really like to combine Flying Konqui by Timothée Giet with bubbles made from the BSD logo.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU.org Website Says Microsoft’s Software Is Malware

      GNU.org has a category on its website named “Philosophy of the GNU Project,” where the Microsoft software is described as malware, along with Apple and Amazon.

    • Supporting Software Freedom Conservancy

      There are a number of important organizations in the Open Source and Free Software world that do tremendously valuable work. This includes groups such as the Linux Foundation, Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apache Software Foundation, and others.

    • Software Freedom Conservancy Launches 2015 Fundraiser

      Today Software Freedom Conservancy announces a major fundraising effort. Pointing to the difficulty of relying on corporate funding while pursuing important but controversial issues, like GPL compliance, Conservancy has structured its fundraiser to increase individual support. The organization needs at least 750 annual Supporters to continue its basic community services and 2500 to avoid hibernating its enforcement efforts. If Conservancy does not meet its goals, it will be forced to radically restructure and wind down a substantial portion of its operations.

    • GIMP 2.8.16 Has Been Released
    • 20 Years of GIMP Evolution: Step by Step

      GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) – superb open source and free graphics editor. Development began in 1995 as students project of the University of California, Berkeley by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. In 1997 the project was renamed in “GIMP” and became an official part of GNU Project. During these years the GIMP is one of the best graphics editor and platinum holy wars “GIMP vs Photoshop” – one of the most popular.

    • Infinity status

      I’m winding down for a month away from Infinity. The current status is that the language and note format changes for 0.0.2 are all done. Y

  • Licensing

    • Free Router Software Not In The Crosshairs, FCC Clarifies

      FCC will not seek to ban free software from wireless routers, according to a clarification it made earlier this month on a rulemaking related to radio devices. An earlier draft of the official proposal included a specific reference to device manufacturers restricting installation of the open-source project DD-WRT.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • San Francisco sets sights on open source voting by November 2019

      Open-source voting systems bring a greater level of transparency and accountability by allowing the public to have access to the source codes of the system, which is used to tabulate the votes. A system owned by The City could also save taxpayers money.

    • Road testing the community-powered grocery store

      Building a business in an open and collaborative way can be a wonderfully rewarding experience, engaging both the members of the organization as well as the customers in a unique relationship based on common, transparent goals, while growing a sense of community around the venture.

      Last year, Shaun McCance wrote an article for Opensource.com, 4 tips from growing a community grocery store, where he shared his experiences from the initial steps of building a co-operative (co-op) grocery store in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, applying similar practices that many open source software projects use in software development.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Denmark’s Aarhus insists on open IT standards

      Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, is requiring the use of open IT standards for all of its future IT projects. This way, the city aims to rid itself of IT vendor lock-in. Aarhus is currently ”fenced in by contracts, proprietary software and proprietary standards”, says Camilla Tække, leading the change management project for the city. “This is a change in culture, not just as a technical one.”

Leftovers

  • The Immaculate British

    Coe may be a Tory Lord, but he is a disgrace not fit to lead international athletics. When will the British learn that corruption is not something that just happens abroad? If the standards of British public life were ever higher, we have the living breathing examples of Sebastian Coe and Tony Blair to show us what a sleazy entity Britain has now become.

  • Science

    • Geeks visit Bletchley Park, birthplace of the Turing machine

      What do a few geeks do when they find themselves on the way to Dublin for LinuxCon Europe? They make a side trip to Bletchley Park, of course. Seeing the place where Alan Turing, father of computer science, broke the German Nazi Enigma codes in the second World War was quite an experience. In this article, Jeffrey Osier-Mixon (community manager at the Yocto Project at Intel) and I describe a few of the highlights of our geeky and wonderful side trip.

      Bletchley Park was one of Britain’s best-kept secrets, and for decades after the war, the people who worked there were still sworn to secrecy. The work at Bletchley Park is believed to have saved thousands of lives and shortened the war by about two years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the people working at Bletchley were publicly recognized for their service. For more about the history, read an in-depth story on the Bletchley Park website.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘They’re Not Americans’: CNN Guest Justifies Massive Attacks on Civilians

      Scheuer’s proudly sociopathic views should come as no surprise. In December 2013, he called for the assassination of President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron…

    • Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution

      Leading international cultural figures have joined human rights campaigners in calling for the release of Ashraf Fayadh, the Palestinian poet and artist facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

      Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, historian Simon Schama, playwright David Hare, and Egyptian novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif are among the those calling for the death sentence imposed on Fayadh by a Saudi court last week to be overturned.

      More than a dozen organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom of expression from the UK, North America and Africa – including Index on Censorship, literary association PEN International and the International Association of Art Critics – have also signed a joint statement condemning Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Feeding ‘Godzilla’: As Indonesia Burns, Its Government Moves To Increase Forest Destruction

      In the midst of its worst fire crisis in living memory, the Indonesian government is taking a leap backward on forest protection. The recently signed Council of Palm Oil Producing Nations between Indonesia and Malaysia, signed at the weekend in Kuala Lumpur, will attempt to wind back palm oil companies’ pledges to end deforestation.

      This is despite Indonesia’s efforts to end fires and palm oil cultivation on peatlands.

      If successful the move will undo recent attempts to end deforestation from palm oil production, and exacerbate the risk of future forest fires.

  • Finance

    • British Values

      That throws a rather lurid light on what could be done with the £175 billion admitted cost of Trident, if we lived in a society with less crazed values.

    • CNN Analyst “Shocked There’s No Violence” During Chicago Protests
    • How the Gates Foundation Reflects the Good and the Bad of “Hacker Philanthropy”

      Despite its impact, few book-length assessments of the foundation’s work have appeared. Now Linsey McGoey, a sociologist at the University of Essex, is seeking to fill the gap. “Just how efficient is Gates’s philanthropic spending?” she asks in No Such Thing as a Free Gift. “Are the billions he has spent on U.S. primary and secondary schools improving education outcomes? Are global health grants directed at the largest health killers? Is the Gates Foundation improving access to affordable medicines, or are patent rights taking priority over human rights?”

      As the title of her book suggests, McGoey answers all of these questions in the negative. The good the foundation has done, she believes, is far outweighed by the harm. In education, she maintains, most of its initiatives have either gone bust or failed to deliver on their promises. The foundation’s first great education initiative focused on creating small schools in place of big ones, on the assumption that doing so would allow students to receive more individualized attention. From 2000 to 2008, it spent $2 billion to establish 2,602 schools across the United States, affecting a total of nearly 800,000 students. Unfortunately, the experiment failed to improve college acceptance rates to the degree that the Gateses had hoped, and so they abruptly terminated it.

      Instead, the foundation channeled its resources into a host of other initiatives — increased data collection on teacher effectiveness, the introduction of performance-based teacher pay, more standardized testing for students. The foundation has invested heavily in charter schools and vigorously backed the Common Core, which sets national reading and math standards. These are all key elements of the so-called school reform movement. Arne Duncan, as head of Chicago’s public schools, worked closely with both the Gates and Broad foundations, and as President Obama’s secretary of education he sought to implement many of their ideas.

      McGoey (along with many others) is sharply critical of this movement. She cites studies that show that charter schools have performed no better or worse than traditional public schools, and she notes that the Gates Foundation itself has backed away from its once vocal support for assessing teacher performance on the basis of student test scores. While the willingness of the Gateses to change their minds in the face of evidence is admirable, McGoey writes, the reforms they championed “are now entrenched. For many teachers and students, their recent handwringing over the perils of high-stakes testing has come a little too late.”

      [...]

      On one point, however, McGoey is convincing — the need for more analysis of this powerful foundation and the man and woman at its head. Bill and Melinda Gates answer to no electorate, board, or shareholders; they are accountable mainly to themselves. What’s more, the many millions of dollars the foundation has bestowed on nonprofits and news organizations has led to a natural reluctance on their part to criticize it. There’s even a name for it: the “Bill Chill” effect.

      That’s not to say that there has been no critical coverage of the foundation’s work. Diane Ravitch has excoriated Gates along with the rest of the school reform movement in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, as well as on her blog. The New York Times and other papers have offered occasional close examinations of Gates’ work. And Joanne Barkan, in a 2011 article in Dissent titled, “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools,” offered a thoroughgoing critique of the education work of Gates and its fellow foundations. In another Dissent article on “how big philanthropy undermines democracy,” Barkan complained that “the mainstream media are, for the most part, failing miserably in their watchdog duties. They give big philanthropy excessive deference and little scrutiny.”

      That may be changing. Alessandra Stanley, writing in the Times in late October, offered a skeptical assessment of the outsized claims made by Sean Parker and other Silicon Valley philanthropists. “Tech entrepreneurs believe their charitable giving is bolder, bigger and more data-driven than anywhere else — and in many ways it is,” she observed. “But despite their flair for disruption, these philanthropists are no more interested in radical change than their more conservative predecessors. They don’t lobby for the redistribution of wealth; instead, they see poverty and inequality as an engineering problem, and the solution is their own brain power, not a tithe.”

      [...]

      We need more probing accounts of this sort. The power of the new barons of philanthropy is only going to grow. The risks they take and the bets they make will no doubt become bolder. If journalists don’t hold them accountable, who will?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Another Court Logically Concludes That Linking To Allegedly Defamatory Content Isn’t Defamation

      Many members of the public believe the internet is subject to a completely different set of laws when it comes to defamation. Fortunately, sanity (mostly) continues to reign when courts apply REAL laws to newfangled message delivery systems. There are exceptions, of course. An Australian court recently declared Google to be the “publisher” of defamatory content posted by other people at other websites, but returned in search results. A Canadian court found a blogger personally liable for republishing defamatory statements made by others.

  • Privacy

    • Dell Compromises Customers’ Security with Pre-Installed Rootkit
    • Dell computers bundled with backdoor that blurts hardware fingerprint to websites

      Dell ships Windows computers with software that lets websites slurp up the machine’s exact specifications, warranty status, and other details without the user knowing.

      This information can be used to build a fingerprint that potentially identifies a person while she browses across the web. It can be abused by phishers and scammers, who can quote the information to trick victims into thinking they’re talking to a legit Dell employee. And, well, it’s just plain rude.

      A website created by a bloke called Slipstream – previously in these pages for exposing security holes in UK school IT software – shows exactly how it can work.

    • Every cloud has an unknown lining

      I don’t go so far as Richard Stallman, who condemns clouds as a proprietary trap to be avoided at all costs. However, if you are going to use commercial clouds, encrypt your data with a key that only you or your company members possess. Better yet, set up a private cloud, and secure it to your satisfaction.

    • Reddit will honor ‘Do Not Track’ requests from visitors

      Reddit has decided to honor ‘Do Not Track,’ a feature that will ensure that it does not download third-party analytics on to browsers that enable the option.

      The DNT option allows users to ask their browser to send websites they access a request or signal to opt-out, for example, from third-party tracking for purposes such as behavioral advertising. But as Reddit points out, websites can interpret the signal however they want and most ignore it.

    • Let’s Encrypt: The FSF beta tests a new Certificate Authority

      Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit Certificate Authority (CA), run by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), which aims to make the process of getting X.509 certificates for Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption a trivial process, as well as cost-free.

    • Stronger Locks, Better Security

      What if, in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, or cybersecurity attacks on companies and government agencies, the FBI had come to the American people and said: In order to keep you safe, we need you to remove all the locks on your doors and windows and replace them with weaker ones. It’s because, if you were a terrorist and we needed to get to your house, your locks might slow us down or block us entirely. So Americans, remove your locks! And American companies: stop making good locks!

    • Montana Standard newspaper plans to retroactively unmask anonymous commenters

      I must say that I’m extremely skeptical that it is really technically “impossible,” or even highly impractical, to maintain the anonymity of past comments. If the newspaper really valued its readers’ privacy, and the promise that seems to me to be made in the Privacy Policy (and that is in any event implicitly expected by commenters), I would think that some technical solution would have been eminently possible, even if it would involve some modest expense and hassle. (For instance, I assume the tech people could just replace the real names in all the existing user entries with the screen names, and then block any future posts from those now-fully-anonymous accounts. That would require users to create new real-name-based accounts, but that seems a modest price to pay for maintaining the privacy of the old accounts.)

  • Civil Rights

    • Court Rules Assassination Memo Can Stay Secret

      A MEMO ABOUT HOW the George W. Bush administration interpreted a ban on assassination can be kept secret, along with other legal documents about the drone war, a federal appeals court said in a ruling made public Monday.

      For several years, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times have been suing to wrench documents from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Council that outline the rationale for killing suspected terrorists. Specifically, they sought the release of the justification for drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen in the fall of 2011: Anwar al Awlaki, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al Awlaki, and Samir Khan.

    • ‘You Don’t See Big Changes Without Major Scandals’ – CounterSpin interview with Nicholas Kusnetz on state government accountability

      If you want to keep believing that, you should on no account read the latest State Integrity Investigation from the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. It grades state governments on criteria including electoral oversight, legislation accountability, lobbying disclosure and public access to information, and the results are not good.

    • How the Gambia banned female ​genital ​mutilation

      Female genital mutilation is still practised at a rate of one girl every 11 seconds around the world in 29 countries. At least 130 million women and girls live with the consequences of having their sexual organs forcibly mutilated, with many suffering from fistula, maternal mortality, child mortality, infection from Aids and typhus, and post-traumatic stress.

      Just 10 minutes before Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia, announced on Monday night that the controversial surgical intervention would be outlawed in his country, Jaha Dukureh, an anti-FGM campaigner, received a call from the president’s office to let her know that her work had been successful. They told her the president would announce that the Gambia was moving into the 21st century and there was no place for FGM in the modern state.

    • Meditation Helped Me Survive Death Row and 19 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment

      My name is Damien Echols, and in 1993 I was arrested for three counts of capital murder in the town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Nine months later I was sentenced to death, and spent almost 19 years on death row before being released in 2011 when new evidence came to light.

      Prison is a dark and stagnant place. It’s filled with the most cold, horrendous energy you can imagine. It feels like a kind of psychic filth that penetrates into your very soul.

      Much of magick is about is learning to change states of consciousness at will. I learned to use meditation and ritual as shields. They prevented the hellish energy of prison from changing me and making me more like the people all around me—people who had given up on even trying to be human.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Dropped AAAA record from DNS

      I host my blog on small machine somewhere in OVH. As part of package I got IPv6 address for it. Five minutes ago I decided to no longer use it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Bernd Lange accepts perverse incentives in ISDS

      Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament international trade committee, has sent a letter to EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström regarding the EU commission’s investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform proposal.

      His letter shows that he overlooks many deficiencies in the commission’s proposal, among them perverse incentives. The proposed system lacks integrity and would undermine our values. I will go through his letter line by line.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube to defend clear examples of fair use, even in court

        YouTube to litigate copyright infringement/fair use actions on behalf of users harassed by subject to inappropriate DMCA takedown requests?

        This is apparently what is going to happen soon, as IP enthusiast Nedim Malovic (Stockholm University) explains.

      • Insurer Refuses to Cover Cox in Massive Piracy Lawsuit

        Trouble continues for one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, with a Lloyds underwriter now suing Cox Communications over an insurance dispute. The insurer is refusing to cover legal fees and potential piracy damages in Cox’s case against BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music.

      • Dear European Commission, could you at least pretend you’re listening to us?

        C4C and several of its signatories co-signed two open letters, one addressed to the European Commission and the other to the European Parliament, in order to share our concerns regarding the European Commission’s current approach on copyright matters in its public consultations.

      • Cayman loses out in Bob Marley copyright dispute

        The English Court of Appeal has ruled that record label Cayman Music does not own the copyright to 13 songs composed by musician Bob Marley, including the hit “No Woman, No Cry”.

        Lord Justice Kitchin was joined by Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Lloyd Jones in ruling that the 13 songs were part of a 1992 agreement in which Cayman Music transferred the rights to Island Records.

      • German Publisher Axel Springer Just Can’t Stop Suing Ad Blockers, And Attacking Its Own Readers

        As you hopefully already know, we take a bit of a different view of ad blockers around here on Techdirt, recognizing that many people have very good reasons for using them, and we have no problem if you make use of them. In fact, we give you the option of turning off the ads on Techdirt separately, whether or not you use an ad blocker. And we try to make sure that the ads on Techdirt are not horrible, annoying or dangerous (and sometimes, hopefully, they’re even useful). Most publications, however, continue to take a very antagonistic view towards their very own communities and readers, and have attacked ad blockers, sometimes blocking users from reading content if they have an ad blocker. Perhaps no publication has fought harder against ad blockers than German publishing giant Axel Springer, the same company that frequently blames Google for its own failure to adapt.

      • Axel Springer Goes After iOS 9 Ad Blockers In New Legal Battle

        German media giant Axel Springer, which operates top European newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, and who recently bought a controlling stake in Business Insider for $343 million, has a history of fighting back against ad-blocking software that threatens its publications’ business models. Now, it’s taking that fight to mobile ad blockers, too. According to the makers of the iOS content blocker dubbed “Blockr,” which is one of several new iOS 9 applications that allow users to block ads and other content that slows down web browsing, Axel Springer’s WELTN24 subsidiary took them to court in an attempt to stop the development and distribution of the Blockr software.

      • MPAA Wins $10.5 Million Piracy Damages From MovieTube

        A group of major Hollywood studios have won a default judgment against the operators of MovieTube and several associated websites. The movie studios have been awarded a total of $10.5 million in statutory damages and control over a few dozen MovieTube domains, which were taken offline earlier this year.

11.25.15

Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Snowdrift.coop Joins OSI as Newest Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), recognized globally for promoting and protecting open source software and development communities, announced today the affiliate membership of Snowdrift.coop. Snowdrift.coop is building a sustainable funding platform for freely-licensed works. Unlike the one-to-one matching used in traditional fundraising, Snowdrift.coop uses a many-to-many matching pledge that creates a network effect (like the internet itself) so that each donation and even projects reinforce one another. A fundamental difference between Snowdrift.coop and one-time fundraising campaigns that help projects get started is that Snowdrift.coop pays out monthly to provide sustainability for ongoing work.

  • Google Kubernetes Is an Open-Source Software Hit

    Google Inc. has an open-source software hit on its hands.

    Google has capitalized on the growing popularity of so-called containers, which are standardized building blocks of code that easily can be moved around the Internet and across a broad range of devices. In June 2014, as containers were taking off in the world of software development, Google open sourced Kubernetes, its technology for managing clusters of containers. Since then, Google has captured about 80% of the market for cluster managers, according to consulting firm Cloud Technology Partners Inc.

  • Non-Linux FOSS: Install Windows? Yeah, Open Source Can Do That.

    For my day job, I occasionally have to demonstrate concepts in a Windows environment. The most time-consuming part of the process is almost always the installation. Don’t get me wrong; Linux takes a long time to install, but in order to set up a multi-system lab of Windows computers, it can take days!

  • Black Duck Survey: Open Source More Popular than Ever for Companies

    Open source is now companies’ “default approach” to software, and open source’s presence within the business world and the use of open source has nearly doubled since 2010. That’s according to the latest “Annual Future of Open Source” report from Black Duck Software.

  • Awfully pleased to meet you: survey finds open source needs more formal policies
  • 5 open source security tools to protect your firm

    Cyber security solutions can be expensive, often for good reason. However, there are also some very powerful open source offerings that can help keep you and company safe.

  • IBM Turns Up Heat Under Competition in Artificial Intelligence
  • Apache Incubator accepts IBM’s SystemML for open source development
  • IBM Machine Learning Algorithm Generator Becomes Open Source Apache Project
  • IBM open-sources its SystemML machine learning tech
  • IBM’s Machine Learning Technology Accepted as Apache Open Source Project
  • Indian Telcos Start Exploring SDN & NFV

    Spectrum limitations combined with growing demand for bandwidth are pushing Indian telcos to explore technologies like SDN and NFV, which have the potential to help them to maximize resource utilization.

  • Alcatel-Lucent joins the ONOS project partnership

    ON.Lab has announced that Alcatel-Lucent has joined the ONOS project, the Open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) for service providers and mission critical networks and a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

    ONOS is a carrier-grade SDN network operating system architected to provide high availability, scalability, performance, and rich northbound and southbound abstractions. Alcatel-Lucent will join service providers, vendors, collaborators and individual contributors to accelerate SDN/NFV adoption and drive open innovation.

  • How Might Open Source Fail?
  • Events

    • The Linux Foundation Becomes Steward of the Open Networking Summit

      If you’re able to get to the Silicon Valley area in March, there is a big open networking conference taking shape, with some very talented participants. The Linux Foundation is announcing that the Open Networking Summit (ONS) is becoming a Linux Foundation event, and ONS 2016 will take place March 14-17, 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif.

    • Visualize astrophysics data with Blender

      The Blender Conference has become a fantastic showcase not just of attractive art and animation, but also unconventional uses of Blender and open source software.

    • SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM: Deadline approaching!

      We extended the deadline for the SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM to Wednesday, November 25th recently – and we now have the makings of a great line-up!

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • MongoDB success stories

      The open source MongoDB NoSQL database is powering an increasing number of websites and services. Here are nine examples of organizations transforming their business with MongoDB.

  • CMS

    • Drupal Hub to spur on the growth of North East’s open source development community

      Drupal Hub will hold regular day time drop-in sessions as well as playing host to established Drupal events, thereby bringing people together to collaborate and contribute to the software.

      Other plans are in place for Drupal training days, Drupal user group meets, Drupal sprints and the Drupal Academy, which provides intensive training for users of all abilities.

    • Drupal-based farmOS manages food, farmers, and community

      FarmOS is a Drupal-based software project aimed at easing the day-to-day management of a farm. It allows different roles to be assigned to managers, workers, and viewers. Managers can monitor how things are going with access to the whole system, workers can use the record-keeping tools, and viewers have read-only access to, for example, certify the farm’s records.

    • Drupal 8 Released

      After years of development and a few delays, the open source Drupal 8 content management system (CMS) is now generally and freely available. Among the most popular and widely deployed CMS technologies in use today, Drupal counts whitehouse.gov and the Federal Communications Commission among its notable users.

  • Education

  • Apple

  • BSD

    • Hackfest OpenBSD presentations
    • Interview: Renato Westphal (renato@)

      My history with OpenBSD started around 2011 when I was still an undergrad student working part-time on an University-Industry partnership program. In this job I was assigned the task of implementing a full (!) MPLS solution for Linux and that task encompassed having a working implementation of the LDP protocol, among several other things. I started then looking for an open source implementation of LDP and found out that OpenBSD had a daemon called ldpd(8). I decided to check it out and it was love at the first sight when I saw its code: it was beautiful! I started then porting this daemon to Linux and on top of that fixed quite a few bugs. Two years later I decided that it would be fair to contribute my fixes back to the original implementation, it was when claudio@ invited me to join the OpenBSD team. Around that time I didn’t know much about OpenBSD and was surprised with the invitation. Theo de Raadt sent me a couple of emails and I had no clue about who he was. Nevertheless, I was excited with the invitation and started to follow the mailing lists and even bought a book about OpenBSD. Within a couple days I was hooked on it and OpenBSD became my OS of choice.

    • DragonFlyBSD Switches To Gold Linker By Default

      DragonFlyBSD has switched to using the Gold Linker by default rather than GNU ld.

      The GNU Gold linker for ELF files is designed to be faster and much more modern than the GNU linker. DragonFlyBSD has traditionally used GNU ld, but now Gold is ready for primetime use by default on this BSD distribution.

    • Clasp 0.4 — Lisp Over LLVM — Generates Code 200x Faster

      Clasp is a Common Lisp compiler based on LLVM that also provies seamless interoperation with C++ libraries.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgarian ‘Future is Code’ school project ongoing

      Bulgaria’s ‘Future is Code’ initiative – where volunteers visit schools to introduce students and teachers to software development – which started in April, is continuing at least until the end of this month. The project has already introduced a handful of schools to open source. The volunteer-led project is supported by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education.

  • Licensing

    • Why viral licensing is a ghost

      According to an historical and widely shared distinction, present on Wikipedia and generally supported by too many free software advocates including some lawyers, “Strong copyleft” (sometimes renamed “viral licensing”) refers to licences governing a copyrighted work to the extent that their copyleft provisions can be efficiently imposed on all kinds of derived works, including linked works: the same copyleft licence becomes applicable to the combination. At the contrary, “Weak copyleft” would refer to licenses (that are generally used for the creation of software libraries) where not all derived works inherit the copyleft license, depending on the manner in which it was derived: copies and changes to the covered software itself become subject to the copyleft provisions of such a license, but not the software that links to it. This allows programs covered by any license (even proprietary) to be compiled and linked against copylefted libraries such as glibc (the GNU project’s implementation of the C standard library), and then redistributed without any re-licensing required.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • DVCS and Git Usage in 2015

      Git unsurprisingly is the big winner, CVS the equally unsurprising loser. Nor has any of the data collected suggested material gains for non-Git platforms. DVCS in general has gained considerably, and is now close to parity and Git is overwhelmingly the most popular choice in that segment.

    • GitHub Bugzilla Hook

      Last month I’ve created a tool which adds comments to Bugzilla when a commit message references a bug number. It was done as a proof of concept and didn’t receive much attention at the time. Today I’m happy to announce the existence of GitHub Bugzilla Hook.

    • One truly massive Git — GitLab Enterprise Edition

      Open-source GitLab is being used for collaboration across over 100,000 organisations to help large distributed teams of developers to work together and control features that allow users to build apps with both accountability and enterprise-grade support.

    • GitLab Introduces New Version of Enterprise Edition for Git
    • The Current State Of Pyston As An Open-Source, High Performance Python

      A status update concerning the Dropbox-sponsored Pyston project was presented earlier this month.

      A status update on the open-source Python high-performance JIT project was shared at a Pyston meet-up two weeks ago. For those interested, the Pyston blog shared today that this interesting video has now been uploaded.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Fires and Other Problems in Indonesia

      Every year about 110,000 people die and others suffer from acute respiratory illnesses because of the fires started by the palm oil and timber corporations in Indonesia. In addition, much of its wildlife is affected and CO2 levels increase drastically. Contributing to the problem is the traditional slash/burn cultivation of Indonesian peasant farmers which is supposed to be illegal under Indonesian law..

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UK to buy 9 Boeing patrol planes in £12 billion defence budget boost

      As part of a set of defense decisions that British Prime Minister David Cameron described as delighting President Barack Obama, the British government announced plans to purchase nine P-8 Poseidon long-range patrol planes from Boeing through a foreign military sale approved by the US government. The Poseidon, the aircraft built by Boeing to replace the US Navy’s aging Lockheed P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare patrol aircraft, will fill the gap left by the retirement of the Royal Air Force’s Hawker Sidley Nimrod fleet over four years ago, and the cancellation of the UK’s own follow-on aircraft. It means about $1.5 billion more in business for Boeing and its partners; the Poseidon currently has a “flyaway” cost of $171.5 million per aircraft.

    • Was Russian aircraft shot down because its satellite navigation was wrong?

      Was a Russian Su-24 strike bomber over Turkish airspace earlier today when it was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter, as the Turkish government claimed? Or did it, as the Russians have claimed, fly in Syrian airspace and never cross the Turkish border? The Turkish and Russian governments have published conflicting evidence on the plane’s location as accusations fly between the two sides. But it’s entirely possible both sides are right—based on different data sources.

      With precision satellite navigation and radar systems available to both sides, one might think that it would be relatively simple to both know where the border was and avoid it or know for certain which side of the border the plane was on when it was shot down. But the Russians have published their own version of navigational tracking data that shows the Su-24 flying south of a part of the Turkish border that juts southward into Syria. The Turks claim that the jet, while clearly not mounting an attack against Turkey, was over a mile into Turkish airspace and had been repeatedly warned that it was on a course that would cross the border.

    • Downed Russian Su-24 Jet Located in Syrian Airspace – Kremlin

      The Russian Su-24 jet downed over Syria was located in Syrian airspace, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    • Turkey shoots down Russian war plane on Syria border

      NATO member Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war.

      The Turkish presidency said in a statement that the plane was a Russian Su-24 fighter jet, while Turkish media said one pilot had been captured by rebel forces in Syria.

    • Turkey’s attack provocation to split int’l anti-terrorist coalition — French politician

      “The Turkish government is playing really foul games,” he wrote in his account in the web. “What was the Russian plane doing? It was delivering air strikes against the Islamic State. Did it pose any threat to Turkey? No. It means that it was another Turkey’s provocation seeking to set the international coalition which is currently being formed at odds. It is a well-staged shot in the back.”

    • The Russian Plane Made Two Ten Second Transits of Turkish Territory

      This is the official Turkish radar track of the Russian aircraft they shot down, in red. It briefly transited a tiny neck of Turkish land – less than two miles across where the Russian jet passed – twice. I calculate that each “incursion” over Turkish territory would have lasted about 10 seconds, assuming the plane was flying slowly at 600mph. That Turkey shot down the plane for this is madness, and absolutely indefensible. It is fairly obvious from the track that the plane was operating against Turkish sponsored Turkmen rebels inside Syria, and that is why the Turks shot it down.

    • Legal Does Not Mean Wise

      Even John Simpson on the BBC yesterday admitted that many innocent civilians had been killed in recent bombings of the ISIS occupied city of Raqqa. Though being the BBC, while reporting correctly that the United States, France and Russia are all bombing Raqqa, they contrived only to mention civilian deaths in a sentence about Russian bombing. That bombing creates terrorist blowback has been proven beyond any rational dispute. So if ending terrorism is truly the aim, it is a curiously counter-productive means of going about it.

    • Once Again, Media Terrorize the Public for the Terrorists

      Another devastating terror spectacle and another media panic playing right into the script: spreading fear and sowing Islamophobia. Better writers than I have documented the latter, but not as much attention has been paid to the former—how in the wake of the Paris attacks 10 days ago, much of the media have needlessly stoked fears and acted, entirely predictably, as the PR wing for terrorists.

    • Rohan Silva: David Cameron must curb the Saudi cash fuelling Islamic State ideology

      It’s been 10 days since the appalling terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, and the focus is rightly on how to hit back. The Prime Minister has promised a “comprehensive plan”, including military action in Syria and increased funding for our security services.

      But if the Government’s response is to be truly “comprehensive”, it must also look at how we tackle the fundamentalist ideology behind the murder of innocent people worldwide, as well as the sexual slavery and rape of women in Islamic State-occupied territories.

    • The Anonymous Assault On ISIS Is Hurting More Than It’s Helping

      Except there’s a major problem with the latest Anonymous campaign. A large number of the accounts they’re suspending have absolutely nothing to do with ISIS. A review of the banned accounts by Ars Technica found that large number of the accounts were banned simply for using Arabic, with many ordinary Palestinian, Chechan and Kurdish users caught in the crossfire.

    • Frances Barber is right – Islamic extremism is changing London beyond recognition

      On Sunday evening, after the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, that excellent actress Frances Barber summoned an Uber car. When the taxi arrived, Barber observed pleasantly that it was a cold night and the driver replied that she shouldn’t be out alone at that time and that she was “disgustingly dressed”. Barber tweeted that she was so angry, she got out, slammed the door and yelled.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • What can technology do about climate change?

      Frustrated by a sense of global mispriorities, I blurted out some snarky and mildly regrettable tweets on the lack of attention to climate change in the tech industry (Twitter being a sublime medium for the snarky and regrettable). Climate change is the problem of our time, it’s everyone’s problem, and most of our problem-solvers are assuming that someone else will solve it.

  • Finance

    • Will Qora solve Bitcoin’s biggest problems?

      Marc Andreesen calls it an invention as profound as “computers in 1975″ and “the Internet in 1993.” Fred Wilson thinks it’s the future of social media. Kim Dotcom wants to build a new global network on it.

      And the team behind Qora wants to bring it directly to you—the open source way, of course.

      Qora is one of many so-called “second generation” cryptocurrencies emerging in the wake of Bitcoin’s unignorable popularity. But Qora is more than a currency. Simply put, it’s a peer-to-peer transaction technology; it allows people to exchange digital assets without an intermediary (and in relative privacy).

      To do this, it leverages the blockchain. Sure, the blockchain is the beating heart of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. But Qora developers believe it can power so much more.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • O’Reilly Claims He’s Never Seen Racism From Donald Trump, Then Highlights His Racist Tweet

      Fox host Bill O’Reilly defended Donald Trump, claiming he’s never seen the GOP presidential hopeful show any racism, while correcting Trump’s insensitive and wildly inaccurate tweet that falsely claimed that African-Americans are responsible for more than 80 percent of murders against whites. FBI crime data shows that the majority of murders are committed by members of the same race.

    • New Study Shows Why Media Need To Disclose Funding Behind Fossil Fuel Front Groups

      A new study found that organizations funded by ExxonMobil and the oil billionaire Koch brothers may have played a key role in sowing doubt in the U.S. about climate change. These findings reveal how important it is for media to disclose the industry ties behind front groups that consistently misinform the public.

    • A Day in the Quality of Life at the Manhattan Institute

      Ah, so the media homeless hysteria in fact preceded the public’s opinion swing, helping to shape it. That makes a lot of sense. A few straight days of front pages might convince people that there’s a problem. If “menace” can be measured through New York Post covers, then Siegel was right. And if the question of there being a breakdown of the city’s quality of life, the theme of the panel, was primarily media-made, then the Manhattan Institute was smart to stay ahead of that narrative by hosting writers and journalists at events that take MI’s own claims as self-evident.

  • Censorship

    • In Wake of Paris, FCC Seeks Power to Monitor, Shutter Websites

      Citing possible links between terror-related websites and online communications and Friday’s attacks on Paris, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested Tuesday Congress give the agency more authority to use ‘big data’ to monitor and act on potential threats.

      Appearing at a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Federal Communications Commission chairman told lawmakers that updating a 1994 law could give the agency more power to assist law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the surveillance of terror suspects online.

    • Phuc Dat Bich admits hoax in Facebook name battle

      An Australian calling himself Phuc Dat Bich who made global headlines after saying he was fighting to use his real name on Facebook admits it was hoax.

      “Mr Bich” said on Facebook his real name was “Joe Carr” (or perhaps joker).

      He said what had started as a joke between friends “became a prank that made a fool out of the media”.

      But he said it also brought out the best in people and gave encouragement to people with “truly interesting and idiosyncratic names”.

      Facebook have not responded to BBC requests for comment.

  • Privacy

    • Hardwiring Freedom

      A day in Stockholm where we discuss how to protect privacy and push back against draconian surveillance and security laws.

    • After Dropbox finds a child porn collector, a chess club stops his knife attack

      This is not particularly difficult to do. In 2009, Microsoft built a tool called PhotoDNA that automates the scanning and matching process, converting incoming images to grayscale and chopping them up into tiny squares. Each piece of image data then passes through a one-way hashing function which generates a unique number based on the square’s shading pattern. Taken together, these hashes make up the “PhotoDNA signature” of an image; any future picture that generates the same signature is almost certain to be a copy of the original image. Microsoft claims that its multi-hashing system is powerful enough to detect illegal images even after basic tweaks such as re-cropping or watermarking.

    • For a Parliamentary Investigation Committee on the Recent Attacks and Surveillance Laws

      The killings committed in Paris and Saint-Denis on the evening of 13 November have been absolutely shocking. After the sorrow and mourning, we all try to make sense of the terrible violence of these attacks, a reminder of the current state of the world.

    • Privacy class action suit against Facebook reaches Austrian Supreme Court

      An attempt to bring a class action suit against Facebook for alleged privacy violations has reached the Austrian Supreme Court. This follows a decision by the Vienna Court of Appeals that the plaintiff, the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, could file his own claim in the local court, even though Facebook’s international headquarters are in Ireland. However, the same court also ruled that similar claims by other Facebook users cannot be combined into a class action.

      The Austrian Supreme Court is being asked by Facebook to dismiss the entire lawsuit, while Schrems hopes to be given permission to start a class action by combining his “model case” with those of others.

    • Two Dell laptop models are shipping with a Superfish-style certificate hack
    • How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online

      Online ad networks and search engines love it when you surf around. Everything you do—every page you load, every query you type—helps them build a profile of you, the better to sell ads targeting your interests. Spy agencies are probably also happy to track your online moves.

    • Is the Web better without JavaScript?

      JavaScript has been a mixed blessing for the Web. It has helped provide some useful features, but it has also contributed to bloated, insecure and downright messy Web pages. One writer at Wired turned off JavaScript and shared his experience of a cleaner and lighter Web.

    • I Turned Off JavaScript for a Whole Week and It Was Glorious

      There’s another web out there, a better web hiding just below the surface of the one we surf from our phones and tablets and laptops every day. A web with no ads, no endlessly scrolling pages, and no annoying modal windows begging you to share the site on social media or sign up for a newsletter. The best part is that you don’t need a special browser extension or an invite-only app to access this alternate reality. All you need to do is change one little setting in your browser of choice. Just un-tick the checkbox that enables “JavaScript” and away you go, to a simpler, cleaner web.

    • California Police Used Illegal Wiretap Warrants In Hundreds Of Drug Prosecutions

      Earlier this month, Brad Heath and Brett Kelman of USA Today reported that the DEA was running a massive amount of wiretap applications through a single judge in Riverside County, California. Judge Helios Hernandez has signed off on five times as many wiretap warrants as any other judge in the United States.

    • NSA Collected Americans’ E-mails Even After it Stopped Collecting Americans’ E-mails

      In 2001, the Bush administration authorized — almost certainly illegally — the NSA to conduct bulk electronic surveillance on Americans: phone calls, e-mails, financial information, and so on. We learned a lot about the bulk phone metadata collection program from the documents provided by Edward Snowden, and it was the focus of debate surrounding the USA FREEDOM Act. E-mail metadata surveillance, however, wasn’t part of that law. We learned the name of the program — STELLAR WIND — when it was leaked in 2004. But supposedly the NSA stopped collecting that data in 2011, because it wasn’t cost-effective.

  • Civil Rights

    • Two dozen Disney IT workers prepare to sue over foreign replacements

      These employees are making discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing in part “hostile treatment in forcing the Americans to train their replacements.”

      At least 23 former Disney IT workers have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the loss of their jobs to foreign replacements. This federal filing is a first step to filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination.

    • The Sorry Tale of the PECB, Pakistan’s Terrible Electronic Crime Bill

      It is a truth universally acknowledged that a government, in the wake of a national security crisis—or hostage to the perceived threat of one—will pursue and in many cases enact legislation that is claimed to protect its citizens from danger, actual or otherwise. These security laws often include wide-ranging provisions that do anything but protect their citizens’ rights or their safety. We have seen this happen time and time again, from the America’s PATRIOT Act to Canada’s C-51. The latest wave of statements by politicians after the Paris bombing implies we will see more of the same very soon.

    • Missing Minutes From Security Video Raises Questions

      Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at a Burger King restaurant located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, according to a Chicago-area district manager for the food chain.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Tests Net Neutrality By Letting Its Own Streaming Service Bypass Usage Caps

      By now, Comcast’s strategy for fighting internet video competition is very clear. For one, the company is slowly but surely expanding usage caps into dozens of new markets. In these ever-expanding areas, Comcast imposes a 300 GB usage cap, then charges users $10 for every 50 GB of extra data they consume. Comcast’s also now testing a new wrinkle wherein users have the option of paying another $30 to $35 if they want unlimited data. In short, the option to have the same unlimited connection they had yesterday will cost these users significantly more.

      But recently, Comcast’s other spoke in this strategy started to reveal itself. The company is slowly but surely expanding a creatively named streaming video service named Stream. Stream provides Comcast broadband-only users a $15 service that includes live TV, video on demand, and HBO, and it’s Comcast’s way of trying to keep would-be cord cutters in house.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Should intellectual property be abolished?

      The Economist has recently popularised the notion that patents are bad for innovation. Is this right? In my view, this assessment results from too high an expectation of what should be achieved by patents or other intellectual property.

      Critics of intellectual property rights seem to think that they should be tested by whether they actually increase creativity. Similarly, in the field of competition law, commentators suppose that it is necessary to balance the innovation promoted by intellectual property against the competition safeguarded by competition law.

    • EFF Joins Broad Coalition of Groups to Protest the TPP in Washington D.C.

      We were out on the streets this week to march against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in the U.S. Capitol. We were there to demonstrate the beginning of a unified movement of diverse organizations calling on officials to review and reject the deal based on its substance, which we can finally read and dissect now that the final text is officially released.

    • Key Flaws in the European Commission’s Proposals for Foreign Investor Protection in TTIP

      In November 2015, the European Commission released a proposed text on foreign investor protection in the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In this paper, I outline key flaws in this proposal, including language buried in the text that significantly undermines the EC’s proposed provisions on the “investment court system” (ICS) and on the right to regulate.

    • IP-rimer: A Basic Explanation of Intellectual Property

      What Is Intellectual Property?

      A thing you own that isn’t a physical thing.

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing ‘Ambushed’ With New Evidence

        After being scheduled for no more than a month, Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has dragged on for almost 10 weeks. Expected to wrap up during the next two days, there’s yet more uncertainty after the prosecution attempted to introduce new evidence at the 11th hour.

      • Kim Dotcom Slams U.S. “Bullies” as Extradition Hearing Ends

        Kim Dotcom says he retains hope as his all-important extradition hearing wrapped up in New Zealand today. The fate of the Megaupload founder, who just slammed the U.S. as “bullies”, now lies in the hands of the judge who gave him bail almost four years ago.

      • Cox Has No DMCA Safe Harbor Protection, Judge Rules

        Internet provider Cox Communications may be held liable for the copyright infringements of its subscribers, a Virginia District Court has ruled. According to the court, Cox failed to properly implement a repeat infringer policy and is not entitled to DMCA safe-harbor protection.

      • CDs should come with download codes

        There’s a Vinyl resurgence going on, with vinyl record sales growing year-on-year. Many of the people buying records don’t have record players. Many records are sold including a download code, granting the owner an (often one-time) opportunity to download a digital copy of the album they just bought.

        Some may be tempted to look down upon those buying vinyl records, especially those who don’t have a means to play them. The record itself is, now more than ever, a physical totem rather than a media for the music. But is this really that different to how we’ve treated audio CDs this century?

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